Buhari bows to pressure at last, sacks Service chiefs

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

New Service Chiefs have been appointed to lead the Nigerian Armed Forces, says a statement today from the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
Adesina stated: “President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.
“Those involved are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
“President Buhari thanks the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,” wishing them well in their future endeavours.
“The new Service Chiefs are: Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
“The President congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.”
The call for the sack of Nigeria’s Service Chiefs had resonated in the National Assembly several times.
In a motion sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume at the Senate plenary on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, the Senate passed a resolution calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to dismiss the Service Chiefs from office, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin.
Both Chambers of the National Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives had in previous resolutions called on President Buhari to fire these Service Chiefs. The trigger for this recent call was the story of desertion of the Nigerian Army by more than 300 soldiers in one fell swoop. In recent times, there have been reports of several Nigerian military personnel deserting the services. The Nigerian military has been in a long running battle with Boko Haram insurgents and terrorists, with no evidence in sight of progress being made to quell the insurgency in the North East. There has also been a significant rise in insecurity across the entire States of Nigeria’s Northern borders – Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, etc. Nigeria’s military has come under severe criticism for its failings. It was also severely criticised by election observers in the recently conducted 2019 general elections for interfering with the elections. In an unprecedented move, it deployed never before seen number of soldiers ostensibly to provide election security. What is however puzzling to most Nigerians and observers of Nigeria’s political space is why President Buhari has refused to act on the calls for the sack of the Service Chiefs. The Service Chiefs have been overdue for retirement and have stayed beyond legally permitted time limits in their positions. It is unclear why the President persists in retaining them in service despite the obvious illegality of continuing to do so.

Governors, including Nyesom Wike of Rivers State had joined in the call for change of Nigeria’s heads of security and rejigging of the nation’s security architecture as Boko Haram and bandits up north continue to overwhelm federal forces.
Wike during wreath laying and parade to mark 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, on Friday, said the time has come for Federal Government (FG) to take decisive action and end the insurgency menace. He had said, “A country is as strong as its Armed Forces. The inability to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency despite years of full military engagement shows all is not well with our approaches and commitments to the battle against internal insecurity.

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