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Northern elders to Buhari: Sack service chiefs as New Year gift to Nigerians

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The Northern elders operating under the auspices of Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development have expressed disappointment in the New Year message of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it does not align with the demands of calls for the sack of security chiefs over worsening security problems in the country.

The elders, who said Buhari’s new year message is disappointing and empty, charged the president to immediately do the needful by not only announcing appointment of new security heads but also ensuring that the new security management team was in line with Nigeria’s federal character principle.

The Northern elders in a statement signed by its national coordinator Zana Goni said they needed a gift of new service chiefs from the president, saying it was the only way the president can convince them of hope for positive results in the ongoing war against insecurity in the region.

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They noted that the continued retention of the service chiefs many years after expiration of their retirement date in service was not only unconstitutional but that it had also weakened the morale of military personnel and the front line troops.

Noting also that the continued stay of the security chiefs was not adding value to the nation’s security management team, the elders regretted that the rising wave of insecurity in the North was being downplayed by the media.

According to the group, “many people are dying daily in the North as a result of banditry and insurgency but the situation is being underreported.”

The group which appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the voice of reason by relieving the security chiefs of their offices,said such action coupled with increment in defence budget were the only ways to go for Nigeria’s security situation to regain its glorious place in history.

They advised President Buhari to try different hands in the security architecture, saying such action could not only bring back the high morale but also zeal and vigour in addition to career development in the military.

The group noted that sending the service chiefs packing from their offices without increment in the nation’s defence budget could also not get the country out of the woods.

They insisted that the president must stop looking at the service chiefs as indispensable, saying there were more efficient and tactically trained officers in the military with valour to confront the adversaries headlong and end the nation’s over a decade long insecurity, especially insurgency and terrorism in the North.

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“We listened to the New Year speech of Mr President to Nigerians with rapt attention believing that he was going to give us a New Year gift in new service chiefs but the president to our disappointment, was silent on this key issue in the lip of every Nigerian,” the statement said.

“At the moment, the most important thing to every Nigerian is security. They want their lives to be protected first. The National Assembly has since understood this and that is why as representatives of the people, they have since been calling for a more robust,efficient and effective security management for the country.

“The recognized that this cannot be achieved without emplacing a complete new security architecture in place. That is why the two chambers of the legislature came up with resolutions seeking replacement of service chiefs but after many months of this genuine and patriotic call by the people’s representatives, President Buhari is yet to accede to their request. This is unfair to Nigerians whose lives are being cut down on daily basis.

“We still stand by the position of the National Assembly where members unanimously resolved that you relieve the security chiefs of their positions to pave way for not only fresh hands but also fresh ideas in our security management strategies.”

“Sacking the current chiefs and subsequently replacing them with new ones will automatically change the game of insecurity as the morale of fighting officers will be boosted, new strategies will be launched besides the flow of intelligence information among the security agencies,” the group said.


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