Finally, Buhari appoints new Service Chiefs

Buhari in an outing with the service chiefs

President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.

Those involved 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.

In a press statement signed by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the president thanks the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country.” He also wishes them well in their future endeavours.

The new Service Chiefs, according to the statement are: Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.

The President, the statement further reads, congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.

The development was coming after several demands by Nigerians called for the removal of the service chiefs and rejig of Nigeria’s military apparatus against the background of security challenges confronting the nation.

It would be recalled that as far back as July, the Nigerian Senate had called on the service chiefs to step aside.

The call was reiterated in December after 43 farmers were killed in Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram terrorists.

Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, in a Channels Television interview, for instance, had stressed that the President was breaking the law by keeping the Service Chiefs, who had been in their positions since 2015.

“The President is breaking the law, the law says if you are 60 you must go, it is automatic,” Shekarau said.

“If you are 35-years in service, you must go. In fact, they are not staff of Mr. President, they are the staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and there is a rule.”

Members of the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, have also serially called for the top military officials to be replaced.

The Presidency had said President Muhammadu Buhari would make the decision when “the time is right.”

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