BusinessDay

New Service Chiefs get lawmakers’ backing to win war against terrorism

The newly appointed Service Chiefs have been assured of the backing of the legislature to win the war terrorism in the country.

Nigeria has being experiencing acts of terrorism, ranging from the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, kidnapping to herdsmen attcaks across the nation in the past few years.

While those violent acts continued almost on a daily basis, there were calls amongst Nigerians, including the parliament for President Muhamadu to remove the Service Chiefs who it was believed were overwhelmed after staying longer than necessary in the office.

Finally, Buhari who initially appeared hesitant last week appointed new Service Chiefs, including Leo Irabor (Major-General) Chief of Defence Staff; Ibrahim Attahiru (Major-General) Chief of Army Staff; A.Z Gambo (Rear Admiral) Chief of Naval Staff; and I.O Amao (Air-Vice Marshal), Chief of Air Staff.

The President also accepted the resignation of the former Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service who were the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.

The resignation of the former Services Chiefs and appointment of the new ones was welcomed particular by the House of Representatives which had at different times made resolutions, calling on the President to sack the then Service Chiefs on account of rising insecurity in the country.

The House of Representatives has vowed to support the newly appointed Service Chiefs with all the available legislative interventions to succeed in the task of securing the lives and properties of Nigerians.

The House also assured Nigerians that it would more than thoroughly carried out its oversight functions on the new Service Chiefs to make sure they take the right steps in securing the lives and property of the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Reacting to retirement of the former Service Chiefs and appointment of the new ones, Spokesperson of the House, Benjamin Kalu told BusinessDay in an exclusive interview that the President’s action was a reflection of the yearnings of Nigerians which is in line with a democratic rule.

Kalu said: “Over the years, the people have yearned for a shift in security architecture because they feel that what we have as a structure is not keeping their lives and properties safe as it ought to be as provided for as the essence of government in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Be that as it may, they have presented it before us who are their representatives and severally, we have through resolutions presented to the executive, the need to change from what is, to what it ought to be.

“Today, the executive has shown that it is a listening leadership, that it has not jettisoned the resolutions of the House – parliament but has listened to the yearnings of not just the parliament but the office of the citizenship of this country; the peoples’ decision.

“What does that hold for us? Does it hold for us that the Messiah that we have being asking for has finally arrived? The answer is no! I don’t really think there will be any Messiah that will solve all our hydra headed insecurity overnight. But what it offers to us remains a change that comes with a new energy, a new focus, a new speed, a new strategy, a new tact and motivation that will be channel towards proving themselves that the President made the right decision by choosing them to be in that position and also bringing a new style of leadership that will bridge the gap created in the leadership of the previous ones who just left today”.

He also commended the former Service Chiefs for their services to the nation, arguing that the situation might have been worst if they were not there.

“While we commend those who have been there to serve us, who knows if they were not there what we have experienced would have been the worst. So, we commend them for serving this nation. We will always remain grateful to them. You know because of what we call the law of marginal utility in elementary economics, a situation where a person has done something so severally that it becomes monotonous and the productivity of that particular exercise is no longer as high as expected. It was high time that the job change hands to enable us drive productivity. That is what we were expecting.

“Nigerians should not expect these people to be overnight magicians. Nigerians are expected to show support. Nigerians are expected to show partnership. Nigerians are expected to encourage these new ones and we are also giving a challenge for them. Though they are coming from different arms of the armed forces, they should close ranks with one another, they should synergize, share information with one another. They should not compete unnecessarily with one another. That way, they will be able to secure us better”, the Chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs said.

Similarly, Chairman, House Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) charged the new Service Chiefs to immediately draw a new and comprehensive strategy that would curb the growing insurgency and banditry in the country.

Namdas, while reacting to the resignation of the former Service Chiefs and appointment of the new ones, said: “We urge the new service chiefs to come out with a new strategy to curb banditry and insurgency.”

He commended President Buhari and the former Service Chiefs for listening to the voice of the people and adhering to the resolutions of the parliament.
“The President and former Service Chiefs have responded to the call of the people. As you are aware, many well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders had before now called on the service chiefs to resign.

“Most notably is the Senate and the House of Representatives, which had at different times passed resolutions calling for a change of the service chiefs. Mr. President has just listened to the counsel of the Nigerian people.

“We thank the Service Chiefs for resigning and especially President Muhammadu Buhari for accepting their resignation and promptly appointing new service chiefs to hit the ground running”, Namdas said.

One question that many Nigerians have been asking is if the change of guard would also lead to economic boom, since the prevailing insecurity has hindered meaningful development.

Before the announcement Tuesday of the appointment of new service chiefs after many years of dawdling, Nigeria had slipped into recession; twice in five years, in the life of the current government.

A major contributory factor to the nation’s economic mess has been the rising spate of insecurity which has scared away investors and slowed down productivity in all sectors.

Before Tuesday, Borno State, which has been the epicenter of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram insurgency has remained a no-go-area to many Nigerians and foreigners.

Before Tuesday, all the nation’s highways had become danger zones as kidnappers lay siege to travellers, hampering trade and commerce in the country.

Before the announcement of the new service chiefs, the states in the Middle Belt and those of the South West geopolitical zone had been turned into grazing field by Fulani herdsmen,which has also resulted in drastic reduction in agricultural activities, in a country that government claims diversification into agriculture as its priority.

Before Tuesday, Katsina State where President Muhammadu Buhari comes from had been overrun by hoodlums going by the name bandits. These have even held government to ransom by negotiating how much they should be paid to lower their rascality.

Although before Tuesday, government at the centre had chosen to play politics with the security situation of the country, it was obvious that it had become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the threat being imposed by insecurity.

With the appointment of the new service chiefs, hope is high that there would be instant improvement in the way the war against insurgency in particular and insecurity in general is being prosecuted.

What would however, remain a sore point in the appointment is the decision by President Buhari to once again, neglect the South East geo-political zone of the country.

It is believed in some quarters that a lot of lives and property could have been saved had President Buhari sacked the service chiefs when they first showed signs of lethargy and incompetence.

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