Buhari appoints new service chiefs

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…Political parties, Senators, others react

By Ayo Fadimu and Laraba Raphael, Abuja

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have canvassed for support for the new service Chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday just as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), demand probe of the tenure of  the last service chiefs to unravel the circumstances behind the security lapses.

The new service Chiefs appointed by the President include: Maj.-Gen. Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Maj.-Gen. I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Adm. A. Z. Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff and AVM I.O. Amao, Chief of Air Staff.

The President had earlier accepted the immediate resignation of the former Service Chiefs and their retirement from service. They are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

The President’s spokesman Mr Femi Adesina confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

The President congratulated the new service chiefs and urged them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.

In the meantime, APC has urged the public to support the newly appointed Service Chiefs to perform their constitutional roles of protecting the country’s territorial integrity and tackle emerging security threats.

TheNational Secretary of the APC Caretaker Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja while welcoming the appointment of the new service chiefs.

Akpanudoedehe expressed confidence that the new service chiefs would consolidate on the remarkable achievements of their predecessors in keeping the country safe and peaceful.

He also urged increased synergy among the armed forces in achieving these tasks.

He noted that recent incidents in the country had triggered divisive  rhetorics in some quarters, adding that it was counterproductive and dangerous to national security when we put ethnic spins to issues affecting us.

Akpanudoedehe stressed that in tackling security threats, we should criminalise crime, not ethnicity.

He further added that as a nation, “our strength remains in our diversity,” saying that the nation should continue to forge unity in its diversity.

He called for peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding among Nigerians irrespective of the part of the country they chose to live and work.

In its reaction to the appointment of the new service Chiefs, PDP  advised the new service chiefs to brace up to the challenges of the nation.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja urged the service chiefs to note that their appointment at this time demanded a huge sense of commitment.

Ologbondiyan added that the appointment also demanded responsibility and determination to secure the nation and restore peace, order and national cohesiveness in Nigeria polity.

Ologbondiyan urged the new service chiefs to take urgent steps to restore professionalism and boost the morale of nation’s troops.

He also urged them to ensure the services did not fall into the indolence, corruption, recklessness, abuse of process and partisanship.

“The new commanders must note that Nigerians are looking up to them as professionals to remove terrorists, bandits and other outlaws ravaging our nation from our landscape,” he said.

Ologbondiyan, however, said that the PDP demanded an immediate inquest into the tenure of the last service chiefs to unravel the circumstances behind the security lapses.

“Our party insists that such must be the sure step toward sanitising the security architecture as well as lifting the morale of those in the front lines risking their lives for the security of our nation,” he said.

In his reaction, the National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Chief Ralph Nwosu, expressed hope that the new appointments would boost the morale of security personnel.

Nwosu said that the President exercised his right to appoint or remove service chiefs.

“All the same, I believe that this will help the morale of our military personnel. Nigeria has superbly trained and schooled officers but politicians are causing disaffection in the system.

“This explains the woes in the country. I pray that the new team will be broadminded and mindful in the decisions that they make,”he said.

Nwosu urged Nigerians to work together to rescue the country.

Similarly,  the Lagos State Chapter of Accord Party says Nigerians are looking forward to ending banditry, kidnapping and other crimes in the country with the appointment of new Service Chiefs.

According to the state Publicity Secretary of the party Mr Dele Oladeji, the appointment of the new service Chiefs is a a respite that effort is finally being made to address the failure of the sacked service chiefs.

“In coming days, Nigerians and the world at large will watch the newly appointed security chiefs closely to see result-oriented security policies and actions toward definite solutions to all security challenges in the country.

“We look forward to the end of banditry, kidnapping and communal killings across the country.

“We hope the new military leaders will promote a force that is more resilient, acceptable in form, operation, structure and deployment,” he said.

In similar vein, some Senators who spoke with our Correspondent have charged the new Service Chiefs to commence work immediately by addressing security challenges facing the country.

They also lauded the appointment of the new service chiefs by President Buhari

In the words of Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia),  the appointment had been long awaited.

“The appointment of new service chiefs is better late than never.

“We have been calling for this for a long time now.

“Let us hope that this team would stem the tide of insecurity,” he said.

Sen. Ahmed Babba Kaita (APC-Katsina), corroborated Abaribe’s claim  saying that the appointment was in response to the yearnings of Nigerians.

“It is in response to the yearnings of Nigerians and I believe we are all good for it.

“It is a very good development and I want to believe that we are going to see a consolidation of the progress made so far because as you are all aware, in the last two months, the military have been recording successes both in the fight against Boko Haram and kidnappings.

“We are very grateful for this development and we expect nothing less from the incoming personnel. We expect them to be ready to take over and consolidate on the security gains so far made,” he said.

Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP-Anambra ) commended Buhari for the appointment of the service chiefs.

“I want to thank Mr President for yielding to the cries of Nigerians. I believe every journey has an end.

“The relieved service chiefs have done very well within their own capacity and Nigerians have for long yearned for a change which is one of the mantra of the current regime.

“It is only change that is permanent and having done this, I want to thank the President and as well plead on the incoming service chiefs to commit their new posting toward the wellbeing of Nigerians.

“We need to have a better security infrastructure in our country,” Ubah said.

Also, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has commended the President for appointing new Service Chiefs for the country.

Governor Wike noted that even though the appointments came late, the President should be commended for listening to the voice of the people.

He challenged the new appointees to see their appointments as an opportunity to re-engineer the nation’s security architecture which has suffered tremendous setback in the last five years.

“ The new Service Chiefs should not politicise security by aligning with politicians.

“What the country needs now is competence and professionalism that will reduce insecurity to the barest minimum,” he stated.

Governor Wike  noted that Nigerians who lost confidence in the former Service Chiefs are looking up to the new appointees to make the desired change.

He called on all levels of government to give the Service Chiefs the needed support they would require to execute their assignments.

“This is an opportunity to serve the nation and I believe that the Service Chiefs will be focused and dedicated,”  he added.

Similarly,  a former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has also called for investigation of Ex-service chiefs by Buhari and other relevant authorities referencing the alleged human rights abuses and destruction done against Nigerians under their watch.

Fayose who shared this on his official Twitter handle also called for a probe into the human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings during their time in office

“It is my call to the ICC and other relevant authorities that the tenure of the ‘sacked’ service chiefs should be investigated, most importantly human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings under their watch and commands,” Fayose tweeted.