There are indications that the nation’s security architecture may witness significant focus shift this Thursday, as President Muhammadu Buhari last night summoned a high level meeting with his Service Chiefs for a meeting.
The meeting which usually holds behind closed doors is coming on the backdrop of the uproar trailing failure of the nation’s security architecture to effectively deal with insecurity in the country .
Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate in a hot debate on the country’s security situation on Wednesday, asked the President to immediately sack the Service Chiefs for their laxity.
BusinessDay gathered late last night that the President summoned the security heads for a meeting this morning for 10 am.
It is however not immediately clear if the summoning of the Service Chiefs is a direct reaction to the Senate calls.
There is already palpable tension amongst the Service Chiefs whose latest tenure extension ended on the 13th of this January, 2020.
The President has never removed any of his Service Chiefs since they were first appointed in 2015, despite the fact that there tenure first expired in 2018.
President Buhari had on the 13th of July, 2019, extended tenures of office of the current Service Chiefs, including the Chief of the Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; a Lieutenant General, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, by another six months.
BusinessDay recalls that all the Service Chiefs, with the exception of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, have served out their mandatory 35 years
This is also coming as the President himself expressed surprise at the depth and spread of insecurity across the country in recent times.
The President had while receiving a delegation of Eminent and Respected Citizens of Niger State led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in State House, said the activities of the bandits had forced many to abandon their farms and homes, adding that “we will now be harder on them.’’
The President also observed that the onslaught of the bandits had also affected agricultural output in some parts of the country, in spite of the favourable weather for farming, because many farmers were attacked, and others had to stay away for safety.
During the closed door meeting, Buhari revealed that “harder times’’ await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
“I was taken aback by what is happening in the North West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion, rather it is one evil plan against the country.
“We have to be harder on them. One of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly,’’ he said.
The President who promised to diversify the economy as a means of checking poverty level in the country, hinted of plans to strengthen the agriculture sector, instead of the heavy reliance on oil, urging more Nigerians to take up agriculture.
President Buhari said discovery of oil and gas reserves in Chad Basin, Benue trough and Bida, and some parts of Bauchi and Gombe, will further bolster current efforts to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
He also cautioned leaders in the Niger Delta to counsel those who blow up pipelines, resulting in spillages that affect farming and farmlands, noting that the loss had always been collective, sometimes turning hard working farmers to victims.
Tony Ailemen, Abuja