IT has been years since President Muhammadu Buhari came under intense pressure to get rid of the current crop of Service Chiefs: General Gabriel Olonishakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Lt-General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff; Vice Admiral Ekwe Ibok-Ette Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff.
The obvious reason is that the security situation in the country has worsened under their watch.
Though the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the North East suffered initial setbacks which the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, infamously described as a “technical defeat”, they have made a resurgence and are relentlessly targeting the retake of Maiduguri.
The Islamic State in West Africa, ISWA, has firmed up its foothold in the Lake Chad area.
Criminal herdsmen have spread their terrorist cells throughout the country. Unfortunately, the Nigerian armed forces and intelligence community do not even recognise them for the terrorists that they are, let alone facing them. If anything, all efforts by embattled states and communities around the country to protect themselves have met with vehement hostility from the authorities.
The so-called bandits destabilising many parts of the North-West and Niger State have grown bolder by the day in spite of the stick-and-carrot measures to contain them. The highways across the country are no longer safe as criminals lay siege and cart travellers off into the bush for ransom.
Even President Buhari’s own state, community and family members have been severally targeted. The people who were appointed to fix our security challenges (the most outstanding item in the President’s Three-Point Agenda) have failed woefully. What is the point of keeping them on the job?
The consistent agitation by a cross-section of Nigerians for the sack of the Service Chiefs is an indirect indictment of President Buhari for his failure to fulfill his pledge to “lead from the front” as a retired general in the fight to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and its people.
Security analysts believe that the spate of sabotages and dwindling willingness to face enemies are fallouts of disillusionment within our fighting forces due to stagnation, corruption and lack of adequate equipment.
They also believe that this service team has run out of ideas and we need new people with fresh ideas and renewed vigour.
We disagree with the notion that you do not make necessary changes in the middle of a war. During the civil war, General Gowon withdrew Major Benjamin Adekunle and replaced him with Lt-Col Olusegun Obasanjo who successfully ended the war.
These Service Chiefs are very dispensable. Nigerians have lost faith in them. They should go.