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EDITORIAL

Calls For Change Of Service Chiefs

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Last week, the Senate passed a resolution asking President Muhammadu Buhari to remove Service Chiefs as part of measures to curb insecurity in the country. Again, this call for the heads of the military chiefs hit the canvas because, according to the president, the Senators lacked the constitutional powers to direct him on the matter.

A similar call earlier by the National Assembly prompted the president to invite leading lawmakers to a security briefing at the presidential villa where, after a long session, the lawmakers reportedly left satisfied and pledged to back the administration’s strategies against insecurity.

We admit that the lawmakers, as elected representatives of the Nigerian people, are in a position to express their worries on issues such as the security situation in the country. It is also pertinent for them to fully assess the implication of such exercise of duty.

This newspaper views this latest call for the removal of the Service Chiefs as capable of distracting the attention of the Chiefs and even the President from the real issue of mapping out strategies for resolving the security problems that the country is confronted by.

We note with concern that from 2015 till date we have had three Inspectors General of Police (IGP) yet the nation’s internal security still bleeds resulting in some blame game reminiscent of Rome burning under Nero’s weakness.

While we concede that public offices do not lend themselves to ‘sit-tightism’, it would appear, in our thinking, that the President as Commander-in-Chief, himself a tested combatant, probably knows what many Nigerians do not know. He is adequately informed and has absolute confidence in the competence of his Service Chiefs who, we believe, have so far proved to be worthy of their appointments.

It may seem to the uninformed that the president has defiantly stuck to them. If that is the case, he is, in our opinion, exercising his prerogative as the constitutionally mandated appointing authority. Submitting to the dictates of the Senate or any other body for that matter will amount to tying his hands unduly. As the president, he enjoys exclusive access to classified information on national security on a minute-by-minute basis.

Prior to May 29, 2015, Boko Haram terrorists made life a living hell for many Nigerians in the North East. Many may have forgotten how residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and its sprawling suburbs such as Nyanya lived in fear after Boko Haram bombed the popular EMAB Plaza in Wuse, Nyanya Motor Park and the United Nations building in Abuja, thereby sending shock waves around the nation and, indeed, the world.

Today, all that is history, courtesy of the resilience and tenacity of the Service Chiefs. The troops rose to the occasion declaring “Not Again!” Normal commercial flights, hotels and the people’s daily lives have since resumed in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu where Boko Haram once held sway. We owe our services personnel a debt of gratitude as they are currently engaged in 33 of our 36 States.

When citizens ignore peaceful resolution of common conflicts and differences just to resort to self-help, arming idle, disoriented youths to extract vengeance by unleashing mayhem that eventually morph into violence, thuggery, terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, it is the nation that suffers.

Global Conflict Tracker reported that over 37,500 lives were lost since May 2011 with about 2.5 million people displaced in the Lake Chad Basin and nearly 244,000 Nigerians rendered homeless by terrorism. A British Broadcasting Corporation Monitoring said Boko Haram mounted 150 attacks killing no fewer than two million people.

We point out with a sense of patriotism that Under Buhari, Nigeria is taming Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and corruption to boot. A 2019 World Report observed that Boko Haram’s territorial control in the North East had shrunk to “small pockets of villages around Lake Chad as a result of sustained Nigerian military’s action». The military, in our view, deserves encouragement and support in spite of what people say.

We are convinced that the present crop of Service Chiefs adequately fit the bill, as well as their commanders, troops and para-troopers who are presently doing amazing wonders in the air, land and sea, putting their lives in danger. It is our considered opinion that the unbridled fixation, ceaseless debates and cacophonous conversations on the tenure of the Service Chiefs only amount to chasing shadows.

There is no better time than now to task the patience and patriotism of Nigerians as well as put every foot forward. Let us err on the side of caution as our country enters the homestretch on this brutal, tortuous and turbulent journey.

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution asking President Muhammadu Buhari to remove Service Chiefs as part of measures to curb insecurity in the country. Again, this call for the heads of the military chiefs hit the canvas because, according to the president, the Senators lacked the constitutional powers to direct him on the matter.

A similar call earlier by the National Assembly prompted the president to invite leading lawmakers to a security briefing at the presidential villa where, after a long session, the lawmakers reportedly left satisfied and pledged to back the administration’s strategies against insecurity.

We admit that the lawmakers, as elected representatives of the Nigerian people, are in a position to express their worries on issues such as the security situation in the country. It is also pertinent for them to fully assess the implication of such exercise of duty.

This newspaper views this latest call for the removal of the Service Chiefs as capable of distracting the attention of the Chiefs and even the President from the real issue of mapping out strategies for resolving the security problems that the country is confronted by.

We note with concern that from 2015 till date we have had three Inspectors General of Police (IGP) yet the nation’s internal security still bleeds resulting in some blame game reminiscent of Rome burning under Nero’s weakness.

While we concede that public offices do not lend themselves to ‘sit-tightism’, it would appear, in our thinking, that the President as Commander-in-Chief, himself a tested combatant, probably knows what many Nigerians do not know. He is adequately informed and has absolute confidence in the competence of his Service Chiefs who, we believe, have so far proved to be worthy of their appointments.

It may seem to the uninformed that the president has defiantly stuck to them. If that is the case, he is, in our opinion, exercising his prerogative as the constitutionally mandated appointing authority. Submitting to the dictates of the Senate or any other body for that matter will amount to tying his hands unduly. As the president, he enjoys exclusive access to classified information on national security on a minute-by-minute basis.

Prior to May 29, 2015, Boko Haram terrorists made life a living hell for many Nigerians in the North East. Many may have forgotten how residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and its sprawling suburbs such as Nyanya lived in fear after Boko Haram bombed the popular EMAB Plaza in Wuse, Nyanya Motor Park and the United Nations building in Abuja, thereby sending shock waves around the nation and, indeed, the world.

Today, all that is history, courtesy of the resilience and tenacity of the Service Chiefs. The troops rose to the occasion declaring “Not Again!” Normal commercial flights, hotels and the people’s daily lives have since resumed in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu where Boko Haram once held sway. We owe our services personnel a debt of gratitude as they are currently engaged in 33 of our 36 States.

When citizens ignore peaceful resolution of common conflicts and differences just to resort to self-help, arming idle, disoriented youths to extract vengeance by unleashing mayhem that eventually morph into violence, thuggery, terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, it is the nation that suffers.

Global Conflict Tracker reported that over 37,500 lives were lost since May 2011 with about 2.5 million people displaced in the Lake Chad Basin and nearly 244,000 Nigerians rendered homeless by terrorism. A British Broadcasting Corporation Monitoring said Boko Haram mounted 150 attacks killing no fewer than two million people.

We point out with a sense of patriotism that Under Buhari, Nigeria is taming Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and corruption to boot. A 2019 World Report observed that Boko Haram’s territorial control in the North East had shrunk to “small pockets of villages around Lake Chad as a result of sustained Nigerian military’s action». The military, in our view, deserves encouragement and support in spite of what people say.

We are convinced that the present crop of Service Chiefs adequately fit the bill, as well as their commanders, troops and para-troopers who are presently doing amazing wonders in the air, land and sea, putting their lives in danger. It is our considered opinion that the unbridled fixation, ceaseless debates and cacophonous conversations on the tenure of the Service Chiefs only amount to chasing shadows.

There is no better time than now to task the patience and patriotism of Nigerians as well as put every foot forward. Let us err on the side of caution as our country enters the homestretch on this brutal, tortuous and turbulent journey.

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