BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI & Ben Agande
YOLA—President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said that he sacked the immediate past service chiefs because of unhealthy competition which made it possible for Boko Haram insurgents to attack the Air Force operational base in Maiduguri.
Jonathan said the terrorists destroyed fighter aircraft during the attack and went scot free because of the rivalry between the former service chiefs.
The service chiefs, who were sacked included the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim; Lt General Azubuike Ihejirika, Chief of Army Staff, COAS, and Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, Chief of Naval Staff.
The President warned that any rivalry among the new service chiefs that threatens national security as was the case in the past, would not be tolerated.
He spoke in Yola at the commissioning of the Nigeria Air Force, NAF, Comprehensive Secondary School. He said a situation where Boko Haram terrorists succeeded in attacking a military installation because of unhealthy rivalry among the service heads would no longer be accepted.
Emphasizing that the insurgents’ activities and other crimes would be better tackled if the synergy between the services worked for the collective interest of Nigeria, the President said: “I urge you all to cooperate because in recent times some mutual cooperation among the service chiefs and personnel have been lacking. This time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that would be retrogressive to this country.
“We charge you to work together and I believe that we would no longer experience any unpleasant situation we had in the past because of some obvious lapses,” he said adding, that the National Assembly along with traditional institutions can form the bedrock on which “we can move our country to the next level.”
Why I appointed Badeh CDS
Jonathan said he appointed Badeh as CDS because he was prudent in the management of resources allocated to the NAF.
He said the National Security Council meeting will hold next week when they would have been cleared by the Senate and the officers decorated with their new ranks.
At the palace of the Lamido of Adamawa, Mustapha Aliyu, Jonathan said that with the appointment of new service chiefs, the tempo of activities against the Boko Haram sect will be increased.
“Let me express our condolences to various families and various people that have lost loved ones in this unnecessary Boko Haram crisis. This thing was alien to us. It was never part of us or our culture. God willing, Nigeria will overcome this challenge,” he said.
He had earlier commended NAF for establishing the school as a foundation for the development of scientific and technological innovation.
“One of the reasons for lifting the CDS from his position as CAS is; I noted carefully that in terms of managing resources, I believe that he tried. I believe that for him taking charge now as CDS, he can work with other colleagues and properly brief them on how to do it, then the Nigerian Armed Forces will be a different Armed Forces,” he added.
Governor Murtala Nyako in his address apologized to President Jonathan for the not-too-impressive welcome accorded him as the streets were deserted, saying it was due to the security situation in the area.