By Emmanuel Uffot
Indications are rife that the clock is finally ticking for the Service Chiefs manning Nigeria security apparatus, if the disposition and tone of President Muhammadu Buhari in his recent meeting with them is anything to go by.
At that meeting, the obviously angered President is said to have tongue lashed them, expressing his disappointment over the escalating insecurity in the country which he pointedly blamed on the lack of synergy among them in combating the ugly trend.
The National Security Adviser Major General Babagana Munguno Rtd who disclosed what transpired in the closed door meeting early this week, revealed the Riot Act read to them by the President that he would no longer accept excuse from them for their failure to curb the rising insurgency and criminality of armed bandits and kidnapping ravaging the country and North in particular.
The latest meeting of the President with the Service Chiefs which has become a recurring affair in the past one year was a direct consequence of the mass protest by a collation of youths in Katsina, the president’s home state over the unabated killings in the state by armed bandits. The protesters had even called on the President to resign, following his government’s failure to provide them security.
Although within that period, the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, Professor Ango Abdullahi of Northern Elders Forum and the United States Government had equally voiced their concern over the disturbing insecurity situation in Nigeria, but that of the Katsina youths, the home state of the president, The Value News gathered angered and embarrassed the president more hence his decision to summon the Service Chiefs for a make or mar marching order.
It could be recalled that one of the key pre-election promises of President Buhari was swift curbing of insecurity in the country, but it is worthy of note that the insecurity situation in the country has rather worsened under his government in the eyes of most Nigerians.
Recall that it this ugly development that has in the past two years heightened agitation by most concern Nigerians for the sack of Service Chiefs specifically the Army Chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, but the president had looked unperturbed until now.
Also worthy of note is the fact that most of them especially the frontline force, the Army and Air Force except the Navy boss Vice Admiral Ibokette Ibas, a Cross Riverian are from the North East. This we gathered informed part of the reason General Buratai and his Air Force counterpart Air Vice Sadigue Abubakar were appointed. But their score card so far in the perception of Nigerians, indicate that the motive has not yield the envisaged result.
Infact inside sources revealed that the Service Chiefs themselves already looked spent, worn out and bereft of fresh ideas to employ and are even eager to go, but the president we gathered until now was not disposed to letting them go, insisting that they have unfinished work to do and they have to justify the huge sums budgeted to them to equip and fight insurgency and criminality since the inception of his government.
To some analysts, corruption within the hierarchy of the military down the ladder and other security agencies, is fingered as one of the militating factor against their inability to curb the still raging Boko Haram, armed banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and Fulani herdsmen killings.
Apart from previous cases of military chiefs dragged before the court by EFCC over the years over monumental fraud, an immediate case to point to is that of Major General Henry Odoki who was recently court martial, demoted to Brigadier General, dismissed over N400 million fraud.
Even the Chief of Army Staff has been accused of owning properties in Dubai, but the allegation had been swept under the carpet. Similarly, a Major General recently caused a stir within the military when he openly lamented that his men don’t have equipment to fight the growing insurgency and that the statutory allowances due to them have not been paid to motivate them. The distraught two-star army general only escaped forced retirement by the whiskers and only got re-deployment because the issue was in public domain.
So with the recent protest from the president’s kinsmen over incessant killings in the state which is said to be very embarrassing to him, the thinking among informed Nigerians is that the hen may have finally come to roost.
Instructively, there is every indication that the concern also raised by the Senate president over the rising insecurity situation in the country with a call to the Service Chiefs to review their approach and comment by former president Olusegun Obasanjo carpeted the security technique of Buhari’s government as below the par, looks like a wake- up call that the days of the Service Chiefs are numbered
The former president had at the 2020 edition of Sobo Sowemimo Annual Lecture organised by Abeokuta Club on Friday June 26, said the security architecture under President Buhari cannot give Nigerians any hope. Although the Presidency is yet to react to former President Obasanjo comment, but many Nigerians have already aligned with his position which they feel is the obvious truth.
As the media is awash with Obasanjo’s criticism of the federal government ineptitude in tackling the persistent rising insecurity which could be interpreted as a vote of no confidence for the rather embattled Services Chiefs, many Nigerians would want to vow that the Service Chiefs are going to be sack in no distance time, but when is what they are eager to see.