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Again, Nigerians tell Buhari to fire service chiefs

By Terhemba Daka, John Akubo (Abuja); Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, South West Bureau); Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan); Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri)
11 August 2020   |   4:30 am
Nigerians in various groups have called for immediate sack of the country’s military chiefs. They made the call yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari again met with top military leaders shortly after meeting Northeast governors in Aso Rock.

National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Mongono (left); Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar after the north east governors’ meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA 

• As security meeting holds in Aso Rock • They should go home, says YCE, Afenifere • Sack them now, Ohanaeze tells President
• PANDEF says Buratai, others have outlived usefulness • North-East govs meet Buhari on crisis

Nigerians in various groups have called for immediate sack of the country’s military chiefs. They made the call yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari again met with top military leaders shortly after meeting Northeast governors in Aso Rock.

Present at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu and the Director General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi.

Reacting to the security meeting, Yoruba groups called on Buhari to relieve the service chiefs of their appointments. The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), through its Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said: “My expectation is for the President to thank the service chiefs for their services to their fatherland, relieve them of their positions and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

“In a presidential system of government, the National Assembly is, in fact, far more representative of the people than other positions. They have passed resolutions and approached him and requested him to relieve them of their positions. Ordinarily, one would expect Mr. President to respond positively to them. They should go and rest and then we have fresh blood injected into the security architecture.”

Similarly, a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, through its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said: “At this point, the only thing left for President Buhari to tell them is that they should go home. They have tried their best but their best is not good enough. They have worn out. Tell them to go home. There are other people you can put there.”

Lending his voice to the call for the sack of military top brass, a former deputy governorship candidate in Oyo State in 2019, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, noted that military leaders had not found the solution to insecurity in the country.

He said: “This kind of war is not about attacks and retreat. It is more of intelligence work. Boko Haram people have mixed with the citizenry.

“My advice is that they should change the approach of the battle. They are just giving money to the military and they are siphoning the money. What they should do is to change their approach to the war.

The call to fire service chiefs gained the support of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo. It asked President Buhari to rejig the country’s security architecture, declaring that they had not only overstayed their tenure but lacked initiatives on how to contain security challenges.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, told The Guardian yesterday that persistent security challenges indicated that whatever strategies known by the chiefs were no longer workable.

“They are tired, they have tried, and we need to put in fresh blood, fresh ideas and fresh personalities. It is not about regular meetings with them. Not long ago, the President had told them that their best was not good enough and gave them the matching order to improve security. Has anything changed since then? Are we not retrogressing daily? So, I believe these security chiefs have given their best and they should be allowed to observe their deserved rest while the rest of the younger persons should be entrusted with the responsibility,” he stated.

Reacting in similar manner, a youth pressure group asked Buhari to sack Buratai over his inability to fish out perpetrators of the attack on Zulum.

The Executive Director, YouthAid, Smart Edwards, in a statement in Abuja, also called on Buhari to recall and sanction all the General Officers Commanding (GOCs) in the North-East over their inability to end attacks.

“We call on President Buhari to immediately order the recall or reposting of the GOCs in the North-East and even the commander at the Nigerian Army Super Camp.

“It is clear that their coordination and commitment have proved ineffective as evidenced by the attack on the governor’s convoy and killing of a newly-wed soldier, among others.

“If the Army is not tired of Buratai, the citizens are tired of him and his manifest inefficiencies and excuses.”

MEANWHILE, the earlier meeting Buhari had with North-East governors focused on tackling insecurity, decaying infrastructure, oil exploration and enhancing river basin development in the North-East region.

The meeting followed the recent attack on the convoy of their forum’s Chairman and Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The North East governors, who joined Zulum were Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa) Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).

Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting, Zulum said the parley with the President was a follow-up to their meeting on Saturday.

He expressed the need for authorities to quickly address challenges in the region and facilitate the return of displaced persons to their ancestral homes.

The governor said the group recommended, among others, that the police should be empowered and provided with state of the art equipment, including armoured personnel carriers among others.

Also present were Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari.

Others were the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i; the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi.

It was gathered President Buhari had, during the closed door, identified lean resources as one of the challenges in tackling insecurity in the North-East.

“We have problems of resources and security. You know what we inherited. The people of the North-East will appreciate what this administration has done.”

AMIDST the gloomy security situation in the region, the Managing Director of North-East Development Commission (NEDC), Mohammed Alkali, has said that a master plan will be introduced to tackle the challenges of rebuilding the region.

The sub-region, with population of 22.7 million, comprises Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

During the 11-year insurgency, 36,000 lives have been lost with destruction of $9 billion (N3.42 trillion) worth of property in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Alkali hinted on the master plan on Sunday, while receiving the North East Governors’ Forum (NEGF), led by Governor Babagana Zulum at the commission’s headquarters in Maiduguri.

“The master plan of the commission will soon be unfolded and become the roadmap for contiguous rebuilding and development of insurgency-affected six states in the region,” he said.

Responding, Zulum pledged the six governors’ support to the commission to implement the master plan.

“I assure you our forum will provide you all the necessary support you need with a view to carrying out the commission’s activities.”