Presidency Disagrees With Senate On Service Chiefs

Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate, on Tuesday passed a resolution asking the military leadership to step aside for fresh hands due to the detoriarating security situation in the country.

The military chiefs have been in office in the last five years, making them the group to have served in the position and perhaps the ones to post some of the most worrying security records, especially in the last two years.

However, the Presidency which has remained silent on the tenure elongation of the Armed Forces chiefs in spite of public outcry for them to be relieved of their jobs, quickly responded and said it was the prerogative of the president to decide who occupied the positions.

It said President. Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, would do what was in the best interest of the country at all times.

The Senate resolution was made after a voice vote on a motion sponsored by Sen. Ali Ndume, representing Borno South, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Army.

Ndume raised concern over the recent ambush of soldiers in Katsina State and voluntary resignation of many soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army.

Sen. Francis Fadahunsi supported by Sen. Betty Apiafi made an additional prayer to Ndume’s motion.

Fadahunsi said: “The additional prayer is that the present corps of service chiefs should step aside for new ideas to come in so as to improve our security situation.”

The senators also mandated a Joint Defence, Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Interior Committee to engage with the military to ascertain the state of affairs of the armed forces.

But in a statement the Presidency reiterated the position of the president, saying the appointment or sack of service chiefs was a Presidential prerogative.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Femi Adesina, who signed the statement, stressed that “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.”

The Army has lost its personnel in numerous ambushes by terrorists since April 2020,

In July, the service lost 50 officers and men, including a major and two lieutenants, in ambushes by insurgents in Borno and Katsina states.

On Monday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt- Gen. Tukur Buratai, after a meeting with the president over the security situation in the country, said insecurity would end when the citizens wanted it to end.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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