Confusion In Major Army Barracks Across The Nation Over President Buhari’s Emergency Decision On 4 Service Chiefs

By Post Nigeria December 23, 2017 05:59

Confusion In Major Army Barracks Across The Nation Over President Buhari’s Emergency Decision On 4 Service Chiefs

Report indicates that the recent decision by President Muhammadu Buhari, to extend the tenure of Service Chiefs (Army, Navy, Air Force), has stirred controversy, especially within the Military circles.

The complaints in Military circles revolve around fears that the recent extension of tenures of the Military Service Chiefs, will lead to delayed promotions, the untimely retirement of promising Officers, and more; all of which would invariably affect the multi-faceted challenges affecting the Nigerian security architecture.

Recall, that Buhari had extended the tenure of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai; the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-EteIkwe Ibas, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar.

This is contrary to expectations in many quarters that the President would inject new blood to carry on from where those at the helm of affairs would stop, considering that their tenures had variously expired.

A statement through the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, signed by Colonel Tukur Gusau, the Minister’s Public Relations Officer, said Buhari had carefully reviewed the on-going Military operations across the nation, and the efforts of the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Service Chiefs, in the counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, coupled with the security situation of the Niger Delta region, hence the need to extend their tenure.

“This extension is pursuant of the powers conferred on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by section 218 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and section 09.06 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions for Service for officers (2012) Revised”, the statement said.

Beyond this, critics of the extension argue that in advanced societies, almost all the Service Chiefs would have without prompting, resigned in the last couple of weeks, considering the alleged marked resurgence of Boko Haram attacks characterised by ambushes on Military personnel and humanitarian agencies, as well as unfettered attacks on civilian population, such as the one in a Mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State, where over 60 people were killed in one fell swoop.

They therefore, faulted the tenure extension, which effectively gave the Service Chiefs a kind of a ‘third-term’ stint.

A senior Military Officer who chose anonymity, revealed that there was basis for the extension.

“The Military has an unwritten principle of ‘soldier go, soldier come’. No-one is indispensable”, he said.

“Officers due to take responsibility of Service Chiefs would have to go now, based on ‘age on rank’ without moving to higher ranks. For instance, Buratai is of 29 course; so Officers of 30th to 33rd, would be retired between now and October next year, including a GOC and key people at the NDA and the Defense Headquarters”, he said.

However, the source admitted that Buhari is not the first to do tenure extension for Service Chiefs.

“Jonathan did that in 2012 without giving any reason. Ihejirika came in August 2010, and his tenure was extended in August 2012 for one year, and re-extended in 2013, before Boko Haram activities disgraced him out after the attack on Maiduguri NAF base and Bama barracks, in December of 2013. Jonathan had no option than to fire him on 15 Jan 2014”, he said.

The source also said the change in guard in the Military hierarchy comes with a lot of psychological satisfaction.

“Of course, not everybody would attain that peak in service, but if one of your own, someone you grew through the ranks with, rises to the zenith, the credit goes to the whole set; you will feel it is you, but a situation when all of you were swept at once, it is devastating”, he said.

A Retired Major-General, Garba Ali, said that upcoming Nigerian Military Officers should not panic, because of recent developments, saying it will not in any way affect their subsequent promotions. He said promotion in the Nigerian Army is being done based on some criteria and requirements, and that once an Officer meets the requirements, he or she would be promoted. He added that going by the discipline in the Nigerian Military system, nothing would change the system.

Also, another Retired General, Bashir Salihi Magashi, said any Officer that is conversant with Nigerian Army’s terms and conditions of service would not complain about his/her subsequent promotions, because the Army is strictly being governed by them.

“Once you finish training from Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), there is career progression up to the rank of general. It is only for you to meet the requirements and you will be awarded next rank. But there is time for everything; each promotion has its own time.”

Amidst these observations, some serving and retired Officers, security experts, and politicians, said the extension was the most needless thing for now, considering that Nigeria is being confronted by many challenges, including the nine-year Boko Haram extremism in the North-East, cattle rustling in North Central, and parts of North-West, kidnappings almost everywhere, farmers-herders altercations and more.


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