•It’s not in Nigeria’s best interest now – President replies lawmakers
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Service Chiefs, arguing that it has become imperative over the deteriorating security situation in the country.
However, President Buhari, in his response said that in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.
This formed part of resolutions of the Senate sequel to the consideration of motion drawing attention to the rising number of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other Security Agencies.
The demand for the resignation of the Service Chiefs was put forward in a proposed amendment to the resolutions of the Senate moved by Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP – Osun East); and seconded by Betty Apiafi (PDP – Rivers West).
The upper chamber also urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency, provide modern equipments to enhance the operational capabilities of the armed forces.
Sponsor of the original motion, Senator Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South), while coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, noted with concern the various reports of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.
According to the lawmaker, twenty-four soldiers were recently ambushed and killed along damboa-Maiduguri in Borno State, with nineteen wounded and nine declared missing in action.
“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.
“The Senate is concerned that if the trend continues, it will have serious implication on the fight against insurgency and banditry in the country,” Ndume added.
The Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North), in his contribution, called on Security Agencies to change their tact and strategy of deployment in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Accordingly, the Upper Chamber after holding a minute silence for the fallen soldiers, mandated the joint Committees on Army; Airforce; Navy; National Security and Nigeria Police to receive briefing on the state of affairs of the services in this regard.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks while condoling the families of slain soldiers, charged the Senate Joint Committees to investigate alleged desertion of the army by soldiers at the war front.
He said, “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, and of course, 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.”
However, in his response to the resolution of the Senate, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, rejected the Senate resolution calling on the Service Chiefs to resign.
The statement said “The Senate Tuesday adopted a resolution calling on the Service Chiefs to resign or be sacked due to the multi-pronged security challenges in the country.
“The Presidency notes the resolution, and reiterates that appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a Presidential prerogative, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.”