The presidency declared yesterday that the appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a sole prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.
The position on the service chiefs from Nigeria’s seat of power came on the heels of a resolution by the Senate yesterday, calling for the sack of the service chiefs.
But in a swift reaction, special adviser to the president on media, Femi Adesina said the president will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.
He said, “The Senate yesterday adopted a resolution calling on the Service Chiefs to resign or be sacked due to the multi-pronged security challenges in the country.
“The Presidency notes the resolution, and reiterates that appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a Presidential prerogative, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times”.
But earlier yesterday, the Senate demanded that the service chiefs should step aside over the deteriorating security situation in the country.
The call formed part of resolutions of the Senate following the consideration of a Motion on the rising number of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other security services.
The demand for the resignation of the service chiefs was put forward in an amendment to the resolutions of the Senate by Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun East); and seconded by Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers West).
The upper chamber further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, provide modern equipment to enhance the operational capabilities of the armed forces to confront the nation’s security challenges.
Sponsor of the Motion, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), while coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, expressed concern over various reports of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other security agencies involved in internal operations across the country.
According to the lawmaker, 24 soldiers were recently ambushed and killed along Damboa-Maiduguri road in Borno State, with 19 wounded and nine declared missing in action.
Ndume said, “The Senate is disturbed that in Katsina again about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed while several others were wounded.
Senate leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, in his contribution, called on security agencies to change their tact and strategy of deployment in the fight against insecurity.
Accordingly, the Red Chamber, after holding a minute silence for the fallen soldiers, mandated the joint committees on Army, Airforce, Navy, National Security and Nigeria Police to receive briefing on the state of affairs of the services in this regard.
The president of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks while condoling the families of slain soldiers, charged the Senate Joint Committees to investigate alleged desertion of the Army by soldiers at the war front.
He said, “The spirit of this motion is that our armed forces are trying very hard, but just like the President said, their good is not good enough.
Keyamo Won’t Handle 774,000 Jobs, Senate Insists
Also, the upper chamber yesterday ordered the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to take over the recruitment process of the 774,000 special public works from the minister of state for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Festus Keyamo (SAN).
Chairman, Senate committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, raised the motion on the matter through a point of order at plenary.
Bamidele drew the attention of the Senate to the recent claims by Keyamo, who said President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to proceed with the recruitment process for the public works programme.
He noted that Keyamo erred in law by taking over an assignment which was constitutionally assigned to the NDE through the Revised 2020 Budget. He said the National Assembly approved the sum of N52billion for the NDE to execute the exercise but lamented that the Labour ministry, through Keyamo, hijacked the exercise.
The Senator said the Revised 2020 Appropriation Act should be binding on the Federal Government and its agencies.
Subsequently, the Senate resolved that the NDE should take full charge of the implementation of the recruitment process while the ministry plays a supervisory role.
Speaking on the matter, Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, said NDE remains the agency recognised by law to implement the programme.
Monarch Faults Senate’s Call For Service Chiefs’ Resignation
The Olowu of Kuta in Ayedire local government area of Osun State, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, has kicked against the resolution of the Senate seeking the resignation of service chiefs.
The royal father said sack of the service chiefs was not a solution to the country’s insecurity challenges.
The monarch advised the Senate to be more creative in finding solutions to the crisis of insurgency and banditry in the country.
Reacting to the Senate’s position, the traditional ruler reminded the lawmakers that the lingering insecurity rocking the country demands experience which, according to him, is being deployed by the current military leaders in the fight against the insurgents and bandits.
The Oba urged the Senate to stop giving the impression that insecurity will disappear once the current service chiefs leave the stage, stressing that their exit in the middle of a war would be a major set-back for the nation.
He said, “Rather than continue to play politics with this issue of who should be service chiefs, the Senate should rather be more actively involved in the search for peace through political means. Every war ultimately ends on a roundtable.
“Our senators, being representatives of the people in all the 109 senatorial districts in the country should galvanise the nation at this time to back our service chiefs with political solutions to this war going on. The solution does not lie in changing a set of service chiefs for another.
For instance, there has been a change of the head of our police three times since 2015, what has been our experience with internal security despite the changes? This alone should tell us that the problem is not with the leadership of the military who have continued to give a very good account of their expertise in combating terrorism and banditry
“A war is won through a combination of consistent military engagements and formulation of clear headed political policies. I therefore, appeal to our lawmakers to let us look beyond a change of leadership in the military in our search for solutions to the nation’s security problems. Beyond the politics of it, I do not see how a replacement of the military leaders will make a difference.
We need more political solutions now which the Senate must see as its own share of the responsibility of getting peace back into our country,”.