Wednesday, 19 February 2020

We Will Not Sack Service Chiefs...FG

The Federal Government cannot sack the service chiefs now, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha said yesterday. This is coming despite outrage by Nigerians over the continuous stay of the security heads in office. There have been calls from several quarters including members of the National Assembly that the Service Chiefs be relieved of their appointments following the deteriorating security situation in the country.

In the past few weeks, criminal activities, including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery have spiked across the nooks and crannies of the country. But speaking to journalists yesterday in Abuja after a book launch titled: “CAN, Religion, Politics and Power in Nigeria” written by a former General Secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Engr Samuel Salifu, the SGF criticized those mounting pressure on the government to sack the Service Chiefs, saying, “this is not the right time to sack heads of security agencies”.

 Mustapha explained that there are processes to be followed if such a step must be taken, adding that Nigerians must be on the same page with government if the battle against insecurity challenges must be won. “You don’t sack people like that. There are processes and I believe that, at the opportuned time, those processes will be followed. You don’t just wake up and say sack people, it doesn’t happen like that. We are in a very difficult time.

We need everybody to be on board. We need synergy within intelligence community; within the military formations that will help fight this war. “We are in a very difficult situation and when we begin to create cracks and divisions, who will be the beneficiaries? The adversaries are the ones that are going to exploit those deficiencies and further the cause of destabilising the nation. “At this moment, what we need is for everybody to be on the same page, fight the battle of securing the nation for protecting lives and property and ensuring that every Nigerian has the opportunity to live a prosperous life. I think that should be our main focus,” he said.

The service chiefs: Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff; Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff, and Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, were appointed in July, 2015, for an initial period of two years shortly after President Buhari was sworn. They were later given additional two years in 2017, which expired in July 2019. That appointment is yet to be renewed officially. Section 09. 08 of the revised Armed Forces of Nigeria Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS) states thus“An officer appointed to the substantive appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff will hold the appointment for a continuous period of two years. The appointment could be extended for another two years from the date of expiration of the initial two-year period.”


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