By our Correspondents |
Mass exodus looms in the nation’s military hierarchy following the appointment of the new service chiefs, with about 47 generals pencilled for retirement.
LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday that in line with the tradition whenever there is a change of leadership in the military, top military brass, including 16 Air Vice Marshals, 11 Rear Admirals and 20 Major Generals are to proceed on retirement.
With the acceptance of the retirement of the ex-service chiefs and their replacement by President Muhammadu Buhari, senior officers of courses 34, 35 and 36 are expected to automatically retire to pave way for younger officers.
The move, according to military sources, is a standard tradition for command and control.
The source applauded the development, saying the service chiefs will retire along with their principal staff officers and officers commanding.
Those likely to retire in the Nigerian Air Force are the 10 branch chiefs and six are officers commanding.
Meanwhile, in the Navy, at least seven branch chiefs and four flag officers commanding will retire voluntarily alongside other senior officers, while about 10 general officers commanding (GOCs) and principal staff officers (PSO) will opt out of the service in the Army.
PMB Gives New Service Chiefs Marching Order
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday issued marching orders to the newly appointed service chiefs, saying they must add value to the security situation..
The president who met with the service chiefs for the first time since their appointment told them to act fast because expectations are high, even as he assured Nigerians that issues of security will not be politicised.
The new service chiefs appointed on Tuesday include Major-General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff, and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, Chief of the Air Staff.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting with the president, the CDS, Maj General Irabor said the new service chiefs would work to ensure security of lives and properties.
He said, “We have just seen Mr. President and we are mindful of the demands. We can only at this stage pledge our ultimate best to bring safety and security to lives and properties across the country.
“On behalf of the service chiefs, I am assuring the nation peace and security. We believe there will be value that will be added to the security disposition of the nation.”
On the message from the president, he said, “The message from the president is that we, knowing the current security environment, must do everything possible to add value to the security disposition and the expectations are high and that we are quite mindful of those expectations. So, we collectively will work to achieve that.”
In addition, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement yesterday, said the president charged the appointees to be patriotic, and serve the country well.
Adesina quoted the president as saying: “We’re in a state of emergency.
Be patriotic, serve the country well, as your loyalty is to the country.”
While congratulating the service chiefs on heading their various services, the president in the statement added: “There’s nothing I can tell you about the service, because you are in it. I was also in it, and I will pray for you. I also assure you that whatever I can do as commander-in-chief, will be done, so that the people will appreciate your efforts.
“You know the stage we were in 2015, you know the stage we are now, and the undertakings we made. We promised to secure the country, revive the economy, and fight corruption. None has been easy, but we have certainly made progress.”
The president also charged the service chiefs to be concerned about the morale of their officers and men, saying they should be made to feel physically and professionally secure. He pledged that government would do its best in terms of equipment and logistics.
Also, President Buhari assured that issues of security won’t be politicised.
This was disclosed by the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, to State House correspondents after meeting with the president at the presidential villa.
The monarch said as traditional rulers, they have the duty to ensure protection for all citizens.
He said, “Well, to the glory of God I am here particularly because of all the issues of security threat here and there and to get the blessing of Mr President. It won’t turn out to be very political because political parties might probably want to hijack it and to the glory of God, as the co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers, it is our responsibility and our duty to make sure that everything is right; all and sundry is in good shape.”
Speaking further, he said, “Even our governors and other political rulers in different states, Mr President has assured they must work with the traditional rulers so that we can actually separate the good from the bad and get the right society in proper perspective.
On the appointment of service chiefs, he said, “It is a very positive coincidence. For me, it’s a refreshment; there is a new blood, a new intake, fresh ideas will come on board and we have actually given very positive encouragement to Mr President that he should keep it up. It is a very courageous move for fresh minds.”
On tension between herders and natives in the South West, he said, “The best way forward is to separate the bad eggs from the good eggs and take politics out of it, we don’t want any politics to be mingled with it.
“We, traditional rulers, know the good, the bad and the ugly in our domains. So, it is a very clear strategy. Those bad eggs, we want to fish them out. Politics is different from taking out the bad eggs from the good eggs and it is the blessing of Mr President we have come for. So, any time we are sensing politics, we the traditional rulers have to cry out, so that is the reason why I am here”.
Give Them Timeline, Senate Tells president
But the Senate urged President Buhari to put the newly appointed service chiefs to task by giving them a timeline to bring the ongoing anti-terror war in the country to an end.
The Senate gave the stand through its committee chairman on the Army, Senator Ali Ndume.
Ndume, who represents Borno South in the Senate, said the new security chiefs have the necessary competencies to execute their mandates.
The lawmaker who hailed the appointment and choice of the new service chiefs said the decision by President Buhari has shown that he is a man of his words, having promised to rejig the nation’s security architecture.
“The appointment of the new service chiefs is a welcome development and that goes to show that the President is keeping to his words. I remember in his New Year broadcast, he made a promise that he was going to rejig the security apparatus and that he assured Nigerians that the war against insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality that have been disturbing the country will be properly addressed,” he stated.
Northern Governors Commend PMB On Appointment
Also, the Northern Governors’ Forum yesterday commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the appointment of new service chiefs.
It also praised the outgone service chiefs for giving their best in the service of the nation.
Chairman of the forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, in a statement commended the president for taking the decision, just as he asked the new service chiefs to put in their best not only to meet the expectations of the commander-in-chief, but also that of Nigerians who have high expectations for enhanced security and safety of lives and properties.
According to a statement issued in Jos yesterday by the director of press and public affairs, Simon Makut Macham, Lalong charged them to build on the successes of their predecessors and also learn from their challenges in order to address the lingering problems of terrorism, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes that the nation has been battling to contain.
They Should Stabilise Nigeria’s Security Within 3 Months – MBF
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) also charged the new service chiefs to work on stabilising Nigeria’s security within the next three months.
In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Dr Isuwa Dogo, the forum said that the sacking of the ex-service chiefs was long overdue.
“It is obvious that over the years, the need to replace them has become imperative in order to work out new strategies in combating monstrous security challenges faced by the country”, he said.
PMB Meets Makinde, Akeredolu
Meanwhile, the president yesterday met with Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde and his Ondo state counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, separately in Aso rock.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor Makinde said he came to give the president firsthand information on recent happenings in his state.
The governor also requested for more Mobile Police Squadrons to be deployed to Oyo State and support for the joint security outfit.
He said, “There has been a lot of fake news all around and I wanted to be sure that the president clearly had firsthand information from me, which I did. We also exchanged ideas on what we need to do better, and some of the programmes we have put in place to ensure that this security issue is tackled. So, that’s basically why I came.
On different position between him and Sunday Igboho, he said, “Well, we have a history of living together peacefully amongst all the ethnic groups that are present in Oyo State. For instance, what triggered all of this was that Dr Aborede was brutally murdered. That is criminal but on the other hand, Seriki, Alhaji Kabir has been staying in that same place for 40 years. So, quite frankly, the people we are after are criminals”.
Meanwhile, Ondo state governor, Akeredolu declined comments after his meeting with the president.