Abuja - Nigeria's top military officer on Wednesday dismissed talk of a possible coup as the nation is currently in the grip of a raging Islamist insurgency and unrest.
"Why should anyone be thinking in negative fashion? Tell them we will not do it. Those rumouring coups must be living elsewhere and not in Nigeria," said Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh.
The Boko Haram uprising, which has killed thousands across the north since 2009, combined with ethnic and sectarian strife as well as a weakened government, has led some commentators to openly suggest that the situation could lead to a military takeover.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh dismissed talk of a military takeover in a statement issued by Nigeria's National Orientation Agency, which promotes government programmes across the country.
"The armed forces are defenders of democracy. We are an arm of democracy. So how can an arm of democracy work against the democracy that we are part of?" he asked at an event in Abuja.
Badeh expressed surprise at the coup rumours but called the military a professional group that "has no option but to love Nigeria".
The military recently embarked on seizures and searches of national newspapers on what it said were security grounds, prompting some media to claim that the government was trying to stifle free speech.
One daily likened the action to the dark days of censorship under military rule.