Armed ViolenceNews

Service Chiefs No Longer Needed, Says Shettima As Sultan Asks Military To Occupy Lake Chad

Federal lawmaker and immediate past Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs immediately as they are no longer needed in the war against the insurgency.

In an interview with Arise TV, Shettima said the first two years of President Buhari’s administration saw improvements in the security sector but it subsequently deteriorated.

According to him, the service chiefs gave their best when they were first appointed but their best is no longer sufficient.

“They have given their best but their best is no longer enough,”  Shettima argued.

He added that sacking them was not unheard-of in federal governance as Shehu Aliyu Shagari had “three service chiefs” during his administration.

He said former president Olusegun Obasanjo also had four service chiefs during his second coming.

“He started with Victor Malu, then Alexander Ogomudia, Martin Luther Agwai and subsequently Andrew Azazi,” the former governor said.

There have been numerous calls by the Senate to the presidency to sack the service chiefs who, according to the advocates, are bereft of new ideas to tackle insurgency in the northeast.

“The Senate observes that whatever it is military is doing and is not working and if the president thinks that the security men are doing their jobs very well, then the logical implication of such assumption is that the president, as the constitutional commander in chief of the country, has failed in his most rudimentary assignment of securing the country,” Shettima said in a motion presented to the Senate on December 1.

In January, July and December, 2020 alone, similar calls were made but President Buhari has refused to grant the requests.

On Monday, the Coalition of Northern Elders also called the president to sack the service chiefs, expressing concerns over the worsening security situation in the region.

“The latest attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State, where over 333 children are reportedly missing has further confirmed our position that our region is now at the mercy of terrorists, bandits, and other criminal elements,” the elders said in a statement.

The statement added, “Our president was elected by Nigerians and the same Nigerians have spoken through their representatives in the National Assembly.

“Our president should listen to them by dropping the service chiefs, who have since reached retirement age in the military and appoint new ones with fresh ideas to do the job for which we elected him to do.”

Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has asked the military to occupy Lake Chad and Sambisa Forest to restore peace in the troubled area.

He said this during a condolence visit to the Borno State government with his colleagues from the northern and southern parts of Nigeria.

The Sultan had, on Monday, led Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemaka Alfred Ugochukwu, Ore of Otin, Oba Adekunle Adebayo; and other traditional rulers to the state government house.

“Your Excellency, while I was a Lieutenant, I was at Lake Chad in Baga for six months, my battalion in Bama used to rotate with the battalion in Monguno and Maiduguri every six months. We occupied Nigeria and parts of Lake Chad for six months,” the Sultan said.

“I was a Lieutenant, I was the operation officer and I have my maps. In Lake Chad that time, we had 36 islands under Nigeria. We occupied 16 of them; the biggest was king Nasara. We controlled that part of Nigeria effectively well as a battalion.

“Now I don’t know why we can’t occupy the whole of Lake Chad and why we can’t occupy the whole of Sambisa forest. If we want peace, we have to dominate these areas. If we want peace, we have to do away with those terrorists who occupy that place and see nothing good in other people except those that believe in their own negative ideas,” he added.

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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu is an Assistant Editor at HumAngle and Head of the Radicalism and Extremism Desk. He has years of experience researching misinformation and influence operations. He is passionate about analysing jihadism in Africa and has published several articles on the topic. His work has been featured in various local and international publications.

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