Experts have expressed concern that despite the expiration of the tenure of Service Chiefs on the 13th of January, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari has remained silent on their status
But the President on Monday went ahead to inaugurate a committee to periodically review the security situation in the country.
This is coming on the heels of recent call on the President by lawmakers to rejig the nation’s security architecture by firing the service chiefs.
The inauguration of the committees was disclosed by leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, while briefing State House correspondents, after a meeting with President Buhari.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, who hinted on the committee’s inauguration, however, refused to name membership of the committee, but disclosed that the committee is made up of “members of the executive, legislature and the ruling party.”
Both NASS leaders however were silent on the need to sack the service Chiefs as earlier postulated by their colleagues
According to Ahmad Lawan, “We believe that it is imperative that we are able to provide those necessary equipment and welfare for the armed forces of this country and the police, to ensure that they are able to operate and performed efficiently and effectively”
Analysts believe that the new move called to question the efficiency of the service chiefs, the inspector general of police and other security chiefs in the country.
But Gbajabiamila noted that the President is as concerned as any other Nigerian on the need to tackle insecurity
According to him, “Is the President looking to do something about it? , the answer is yes.
He revealed that the question of security is uppermost in the President’s mind, adding that “ he opened up to us and you must understand that some communications are privileged, but suffice to say that the President is concerned and he intends to do something about our challenges.”
Speaking further on the Service Chiefs, the Speaker said” Opinions are divided; the generality of the opinion is that the service chiefs should go, that was evident in our debates in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, bus sometimes you don’t want a knee-jerk reaction
“Many of us identify that something drastic has to be done, there’s also the school of thought that says since we are talking about banditry, kidnapping and murders, what have the armed forces got to do with that, anywhere in the world?
“So the question then arises that if he changes the service chiefs, does that address the issues of kidnapping and banditry? The army, navy and air force are outfits set up to tackle external aggression. It is the police that is set up for internal security, such as we are all witnessing.
“That’s talking about service chiefs, has the Inspector-General of Police met up with his responsibilities?
“The question is if we now narrow it that to the Inspector General to Police, many will argue that he has done a very good job and many will argue with you that he is hamstrung, and straight-jacketed, so, there’s very little he can do in the face of no equipment, no funding and we explained to Mr President that we have to increase funding, we have to recruit more.
“We are talking, even just right now we have gone on to set up a committee that will periodically review the issue of security, maybe once a month or once in six weeks, which will involve the two arms of government and the party.
Gbajabiamila, while noting that “ progress was made in this discussion”, he however assured that “Nigerians will begin to see traction, they’ll begin to see changes. You can be sure that concrete steps were taken in that direction.”
He said the committee will help proffer lasting solutions to the entire security structure in the country.
BusinessDay search revealed that the President is yet to issue any statement to renew the tenure of the Service Chiefs, officially creating a vacuum in the Nigeria security hierarchy.
Since their tenure first appointed in July 2018, the President had always promptly renewed their tenure.
It is not clear however if the non- renewal of their tenure, this time, is a pointer to a possible move to sack them
is in line with the recent calls by a cross section of Nigerians for the sacking of the Service Chiefs following what has been seen as their failure to tackle insecurity across the country.
Tony Ailemen, Abuja