The Service Chiefs of Nigeria have their jobs hanging on the balance as it will be determined on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 as they are scheduled to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to military sources, the service chiefs might be asked to go on retirement or they may voluntarily opt to give way for new appointee due to the fact that the Command and Control Centre of Nigeria’s military have been relocated to Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency.
However, another main agenda of the meeting is the battle against terrorism and the relocation of the Command and Control Centre of the military to Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
The military high command did not agree with the President’s wish to relocate the Command and Control Centre of the military to Borno state, the nitch of insurgency in the country, in order to fight the Boko Haram sect better.
This means that the President would rather prefer to work with those who will go in line with his thinking.
On Friday, May 29, 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech disclosed that victory over the Boko Haram terrorists would remain a mirage unless the Command and Control Centre (service chiefs) is relocated to the theatre of operation.
“The most immediate is Boko Haram insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory cannot be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja.
“The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents. This government will do all it can to rescue them alive,” President Buhari stated.
Top military personnels express their reservations at this decision.
The military sources despite the fact that President Buhari was hailed by many for his speech, expressed to newsmen in Abuja on Monday, June 1, 2015 that the President’s directive is an “attempt to frustrate and humiliate our chiefs before sacking them”.
“Some of us have analyzed the speech and our conclusion is that President Buhari did not appreciate the efforts put in place in fighting the terrorists. In the whole speech, he did not commend us at all but instead seemed to agree with the cynics that we have not been observing human rights in our operations.
“He went further to praise our counterparts in the neighbouring countries who are not in the theatre of operation but were encouraged only to help block their borders to prevent the terrorists from escaping to re-mobilise. As if that was not enough, President Buhari said he wants our Command and Control Centre relocated to Maiduguri. What for?
“We are involved in about nine operations in the country now. If the directive is carried out, then our focus will primarily be on terrorism at the expense of other criminal activities such as kidnapping, armed robbery, piracy, pipeline vandalism and others,” military sources disclose.
The military source further stated that, “Such a directive is alien in military operation anywhere in the world. It is an attempt to frustrate, humiliate our chiefs before sacking them. How do you ask our service chiefs to be in the same place with their commanders? Where is the respect? If he wants them to go, he should simply tell them; rather, he is coming with a blackmail so that he would say he wanted them to remain but they ignored his order so that they might be subjected to humiliation and frustration before kicking them out of the service.”
According to the source, President Buhari had not noted or consulted with the service chiefs before making the relocation decision.
“How will they meet him without his invitation and if it is tomorrow they would be meeting him for briefing, we don’t know; may be he would ask them to go or ask them to obey his directive before kicking them out,” the source mentioned.
Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Kenneth Minimah; Chief Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu; and Naval Chief, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman are the service chiefs who came into office on Thursday, January 16, 2014.