Insecurity: Senate asks Service Chiefs to 'step aside'

The Senate yesterday in its resolution asks
head of the country’s armed forces to take a bow following the soldier’s inadequacies in fighting insurgency and banditry in some part of the country.

Debating a motion moved by Senate committee
 chairman On Army, senator Ali Ndume and
that which was monitored by urban Express-News Online on  Channels Television  platform Broadcast yesterday, said the service chiefs should take a bow and allow other
new ideas to redirect the nation’s security challenges.

Ndume said his motion tagged Matter of Urgent National Importance was on the rising number of causalities among the
Nigeria Armed forces and other security agencies.

The Borno State senator said various
reports on the rising number of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other
security agencies were worrisome.

He said, “Just recently, 24 soldiers were
ambushed and killed along the Gambua – Maiduguri Road in Borno State. At least,
19 personnel were wounded, while nine were declared missing in action.

“It is disturbing that in Katsina; again
about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed while several others were
wounded. The number of civilian casualties is not known.

“The Senate appreciates the sacrifice of
our armed forces in the fight against insurgency, banditry and protection of
the territorial integrity of Nigeria and several other security assignments
given to them.”

“If the trend continues, it will have
serious implications on the fight against insurgency, banditry and other forms
of criminality in the country.

“Recently, it was alleged that over 236
soldiers voluntarily resigned their engagements with the Nigerian Army.”

The Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee
on Customs, Senator Francis Fadahunsi proposed an additional prayer which
demanded that service chiefs should step down.

Fadahunsi said, “The additional prayer is
that the present crop of service chiefs should step down for the new ideas to
come in so as not jeopardize security system.”

Fadahunsi’s prayer was seconded by Senator
Betty Apiafi.

The Senate President ruled on the prayer
and it was overwhelmingly supported by all the senators in attendance.

Lawan said, “The spirit of this motion is
that our armed forces are trying very hard just like the President (Buhari)

“Their good is still not enough but we need
to continue to encourage them. We need to continue to provide for them. They
lay down their lives on behalf of all of us.

“It is very sad that some of them are
deserting and are alleged to have deserted the war front. We need to get to the
bottom of this.

“Our joint committees should be able to verify
this allegation that over 200 soldiers deserted the war front. Those that are
dead we will observe a minute silence.

The Senate, therefore, asked the service
chiefs to take a bow  so that the
President could appoint new ones with
fresh ideas.

Those, who contributed to the motion,
lamented the implication of the disturbing development, stressing that it was
capable of frustrating the war against insurgency and banditry.

They noted that many members of the armed
forces who were scared of losing their lives had started resigning from the

The Leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi,
said, “The issue that now faces us is that the readiness of our armed forces to
really and  confront these challenges is now under a lot of pressure and this pressure is reflected in the amount and number of soldiers we are losing due to
ambush by terrorists and bandits.”

But the presidency frowns at the senate
resolution saying it’s the prerogative of President Mohammadu Buhari to appoint
and sack service chiefs.

Reacting further, the special to the
president on media and publicity, Femi Adeshina in a statement obtained in his
verified Facebook page  Titled “ service
chiefs’ Position of the presidency on the resolution by the senate”.

Adesina said, “The Presidency notes the resolution, and reiterates that appointment or sacking of service chiefs is a
presidential prerogative, and President Mohammadu 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.”

Following the statement coming from the
president’s spokesman Femi Adeshina’s remark that the appointment and sacking
of the service, chiefs remain the prerogative of the president, the senate in response
through its spokesman, Senator Ajibola Bashiru advised President Buhari not to
take senate resolution asking the service chiefs to resign with levity.  

He acknowledged the fact that a “resolution was advisory” which was not legally binding on the President.

He said, “The positions of both the legislature and the executive on the resolution of the Senate calling on the
service chiefs to step down are correct.

“We are elected by the Nigerian people to
make laws for the good governance of the country.

“Part of our responsibility is that we have
the moral duty to be concerned about the security and welfare of Nigerians. As
for the legal status of our resolution, it is an advisory on the executive.

“What I can say is that the advice by
elected parliament ought not to be taken with levity even though it does not
have legal binding. We are of the view that the tenure of the service chiefs
should be reviewed.”

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