Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua has dismissed the country’s chief of the defence staff, together with the heads of the army and navy.
Mr Yar’Adua made the announcement before going on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Naunihal has written extensively on coups, and has the following to add:
I’m not saying that Nigeria is likely to face a coup attempt. I don’t know enough about the case and I don’t have a theory of when coups are attempted in any case. I actually think it’s unlikely.
But I do think that if you’re about to change the top three officers in a country you really should be around afterwards. Just in case.
Until 1999 Nigeria–the major power in West Africa–seemed to be one of the most coup-prone nations in a region replete with armed overthrow. Since moving to civilian rule, Nigeria has acted to discourage coups across the region (with some success). It would be a continental tragedy if their government were overthrown.
If it happens, I’d expect a much stronger international reaction than the paltry response to Mauritania’s recent coup.