Insecurity: Tasks Before The New Service Chiefs As Falana, SAN, Kicks Against their Appointment By President Buhari Without National Assembly Approval Describing It As Contravening The 1999 Constitution

By Suleiman Umaru

Barely 24 hours after the appointment of Leo Irabor, a ajor General as a replacement for Gabriel Olonisakin,a retired army General and former Chief of Defense Staff, CDS and the  other service  Chiefs, President Muhammadu Buhari , who is incidentally is the Commander –In-Chief of the  Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, had  met with them at the Presidential Villa.

 The Katsina state born Nigerian President had used the Opportunity of the  meeting with the new service Chiefs to enjoin  them ‘’to be patriotic and  serve the country well’’. The Nigerian President who had repeatedly been told by Nigerians to declare a state of emergency because of the high level of insecurity  in the country  had informed the service the service  Chiefs  that they had been appointed as replacement for the old service Chiefs  at a time’’ the country is in a state of emergency’’. 

 The Nigerian President, who  was  a retired army General and who had seen it all both in war time and peace time, had told the  service Chiefs,  , ‘’there is nothing  I can tell  you about the service  because you are in it and I was also in it’’.  He was said to have assured the service Chiefs who are enjoying country-wide support  that  whatever  he will do, particular, procurement of equipment and improvement of their Logistics   as their C-In-C,  to make them succeed  , he will not hesitate to do  it  hat people would appreciate their efforts.

Perhaps to make them understand the enormous security Challenge ahead of them, particular , the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, popular, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, Insurgency in the north east states, of Adamawa,  former Vice President Atiku Abubakar , home state, Borno and Yobe as well as  the security challenge in the north west states of Kaduna, Zamfara and  Katsina, occasioned by the Bandits, he has drawn their attention  to the stage the country was  between 2015 and now.

Majr Gen. Irabor: CDS

He was said to have  informed them  of  the promise that he has made  ‘’to secure the country, revive the economy and fight Corruption’’, and the need for them cue in.   He had admitted that ‘’none  has been easy to achieve’’.  Appealing to the service Chiefs to be more concerned about the  morale  of their officers  and fighting troops to sustain the progress that had been made  over the last five years, he disclosed that it is the only way the  Insurgency war  in the north east  and Banditry in the north west,  would be sustained.  He  advised the service Chiefs to ensure  that  they  make the military personnel   ‘’to fell  physically and professionally secure’’.

Bashir Magashi, a retired  army Major General and minister of Defense, who was said to have led the new service Chiefs to the meeting with Buhari, is optimistic that  going by the burning desire in  the mind set of the  service Chiefs to succeed , they will. Many believe that retired Gen. Olonisakin and the other service Chiefs had  failed in their assignment to  fully secure the country during their time  despite the Presidential backing  because they  were Competing among themselves to excel  instead of working as  a team to deal with the common enemies: the Insurgents, Bandits and the  Kidnappers in different parts of the country.

 This is one area which  Major-Gen. Irabor , the CDS, may have to work on to ensure that  Ibrahim Attahiru, a Major Gen. And the Chief of Army Staff do not see himself as superior to the other service Chiefs  in the ongoing Insurgency  war in the north east  but ready to work  in partnership with all of them to achieve result.

But the Northern Elders Forum, NEF,   fears that the new service Chiefs  may not do much to change   the nation’s  fortunes in the fight against insecurity because of the situation on ground. It is not surprising why  Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s , Director , Advocacy and Publicity, has urged the Nigerian President to hold the service Chiefs  accountable  for their  successes and failures.

Major Gen. Attahiru: CAS

 Given the Nigerian President   past relationship with the former service Chiefs , which many believe  was not too encouraging  as it affected   the morale of the  military personnel,  the NEF’s Director, Advocacy and Publicity,  has given a word of advice to him to reduce  his distance  from defence and security matters.

 Baba –Ahmed, the NEF’s Director, Advocacy and Publicity,  who could not hide his feelings  believes that the new service may not achieve that much   to  change what they had met on ground  because  they were part of  the old  military team   that has been severely Challenged  in the fight against  a decade-old Insurgency  and many other security threats in the country.  He insists that the only way, Major-Gen. Irabor and the other service Chiefs could  win  the  Confidence of  Nigerians  is ‘’to improve  on the records  of the former service Chiefs.

 Given the expectations of Nigerians from the new service Chiefs,  he has  urged them to include  ‘’real    in professional standards and morale of fighting troops as well as fighting Corruption within the armed forces. Aware that  the  major complaints  of the soldiers over the years  had been access to vital  weapons and criticisms from foreign and domestic monitors   that the manner  of  the military high Command   in executing the war, was not encouraging , NEF, had said that this should encourage the service Chiefs to head a military    that will  ‘’operate  with  higher  standards  of respect of rules of engagement’’.  

Falana: SAN, Kicks Against New Service Chiefs Appaointment By Buhari

In spite of the fact that the Nigerian President had   continued to receive Congratulatory messages  from the governors for accepting the resignation of the old service Chiefs and appointing new ones,  Femi Falana, a senior Advocate of Nigeria,  had said the appointment  of the service Chiefs without the approval of the National Assembly as a  nomination  as they have not been  appointed.  He noted that when former President Goodluck Jonathan  made a similar appointment  in 2013, Festus Keyamo, a SAN, and now minister of state, Niger Delta ministry, had dragged him to Court in 2013, describing the  appointment  as illegal and unconstitutional’’. He had his way. 

The legal luminary , who is the  National Coordinator of the Alliance  on Surviving  COVID 19 and Beyond, ASCAP,   had said that  the appointment of the new service Chiefs would  ‘’ remain inchoate as the Nigerian President    has not forwarded  the names  of the proposed service Chiefs  to the National Assembly for approval in strict Compliance  with the relevant provisions  of the 199 Constitution  as amended and the armed forces Act.

 This may have informed why he  has called on Buhari  ‘’to forward  the names  of the proposed service Chiefs as he has put it ,  to the National Assembly   for Confirmation,  stressing that failure to do so   means that appointments   are liable to be set aside on the basis  of  a valid and subsisting  judgment of  a Federal High Court.                 

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