The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday called on Service Chiefs to “step aside”.
On Wednesday, a source close to the federal government claimed that the Senate resolution was reached at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
On Friday July 17, President Muhammadu Buhari had a parley with Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The source asserted that the meeting agreed that the legislature should demand the ouster of the Service Chiefs.
He said: “The lawmakers are providing cover for Mr. President to execute his plan to replace the top military hierarchy. Their removal was sealed at the meeting.
“You asked why Mr. President has not fired them already? This has been long delayed for reasons best known to him; he now has the rationale.
“Also remember, after that meeting, he warned ministers and heads of agencies to respect the National Assembly.
“That comment was not just about their attitude, disregard for lawmakers’ invitation/summons or ongoing investigative hearings.
“All of these fit into a bigger political play. NASS is being used to provide cover for Mr. President to do what he wants to.”
The military chiefs, appointed by Buhari in 2015, clocked 5 years in office on July 13.
Arguably, their tenure is the longest enjoyed by security heads since Nigeria became an independent country.
They are Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin – Chief of Defence Staff; Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai – Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas – Chief of Naval Staff, and Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar – Chief of Air Staff.
But despite the spate of insecurity, Buhari has refused to fire them.
Nigerians and groups have been protesting even in the face of Police harassment and intimidation.
This has not deterred them from condemning the president for retaining the quartet.
They say Buhari, a retired General, only issues occasional directives that are yet to change the situation.
Security and the economy were the two issues the president and the All Progressives Congress (APC) based their electioneering campaign on.
On a weekly basis, officers and soldiers fighting Boko Haram/ISWAP are killed in action, with some deserting or resigning from the Armed Forces.
Hundreds of marauding terrorists and bandits continue to maim civilians; women and children are not spared.
President Buhari joined the service chiefs about 10 minutes later and the meeting immediately went into a closed session.
Nigeria’s security challenge may be aggravated with the invitation to bandits operating in North-Central and North-West by Boko Haram factional leader, Abubakar Shekau.
A Shekau commander requested “brothers in Lake Chad, Cameroon, Sambisa, Niger State, Zamfara State”, and other locations to join the sect.
“Keep doing it (attacks) because Allah instructed us in the Holy Quran to strive harder for His cause. Allah has instructed us to kill everyone that is unbelieving.
“We thank God who put us on this path, to promote His words and institute His law. We call you to join us to institute Sharia globally. When you come, we will accept you according to (Shari’ah) law, and we (will) worship Allah as He commands us.”
Meanwhile, going by the latest position, Nigerian lawmakers too have had enough.
On Tuesday, the Senate told the Service Chiefs to go after considering a motion on the rising number of casualties in the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.
The motion for their resignation was contained in a proposed amendment to the resolutions of the Senate.
It was moved by Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP – Osun East) and seconded by Betty Apiafi (PDP – Rivers West).
The Red Chamber also urged Buhari to urgently provide modern equipment to enhance the operational capabilities of the military.
Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South), sponsor of the original motion, under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, recalled that 24 soldiers were recently ambushed and killed along Damboa – Maiduguri road in Borno State.
He decried that similarly, 19 were wounded and 9 declared missing.
“The Senate is disturbed that in Katsina again, about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed while several others were wounded. The Senate appreciates the sacrifices of our armed forces in the fight against insurgency, banditry and protection of the territorial integrity of Nigeria,” he said.
Ndume warned that if the trend continues, there will be grievous implications on the fight against insurgency and banditry in Africa’s biggest nation.
After one minute silence in honour of fallen soldiers, the Senate mandated the joint committee on Army, Air Force, Navy, National Security and Nigeria Police, to receive briefings on the current conditions of affairs.
Lawan charged the committee to look into the desertion of soldiers battling enemies of the state.
“The spirit of this motion is that our Armed Forces are trying very hard, but just like the President said, their good is not good enough. We need to continue to encourage and provide for them. They lay their lives on behalf of us.
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“It is very sad that some of them are alleged to have deserted the war front. We need to get to the bottom of this. Our joint committee should be able to find out the facts about this allegation of over 200 deserting the war front”, Lawan added.