By Chris Ewokor – BBC News, Abuja
The Nigerian military has denied a claim by the governing party that it is planning to disrupt the upcoming presidential election.
An official from the APC party had said that generals had last week held a secret meeting with the rival PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
The allegations are “wicked” and “malicious”, the army statement said.
The race to become the next president of Africa’s most populous country is too close to call.
The three top contenders in the 25 February elections are: Bola Tinubu from the governing All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar from the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi from the Labour Party.
The army said that it was professional and “loyal to the constitution” and would never be part of a plot to overthrow the civilian authorities.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will never be part of any ignoble plot to truncate our hard-earned democracy,” said the spokesperson for Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters Brigadier General Tukur Gusau.
The government and the main political parties have not responded to the army’s statement.
The military takeover claim has largely been ignored by the public – many people are focussed on more pressing worries such as insecurity, fuel scarcity and a shortage of new banknotes, which has added to the country’s economic crisis.