.Buhari, Nigeria

Ahead of the retirement of the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Air Staff, a frontline Civil Society Organisation, Citizen Rights Action for Peace has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to resist the temptation of extending their tenures but rather use the opportunity to overhaul the security system for better efficiency.

The CSO in a statement signed by its executive director, Sani Nurudeen explained that extending tenures of service chiefs has neither added value to the nation’s military nor war against insurgency and other forms of insecurity.

Consequently, the CSO argued that it was a waste of time and taxpayers’ money extending tenures of persons who have not been exceptional in delivering on their responsibilities.

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“The duo of Chief of Defence Staff, Major General L. E Irabor and Chief of Air Staff Isiaka Alao who have hit the retirement bar since last year have not done anything significant to be retained beyond their service years. We wish to remind Mr President that this practice of keeping Service Chiefs beyond their retirement dates does not add value to the security architecture of the country.

“We appeal to the president and commander in chief of the Armed forces not to allow what happened during Lt. Gen. Buratai regime to repeat itself. The security apparatus must quickly be overhauled and new blood injected into the system”, the statement added.

While we note that security is not something to be politicized, care must be taken to ensure that those saddled with the task of securing the nation do not use it as an avenue to compensate persons perceived to be loyal to them.

Playing politics with security is the single reason why Boko Haram has again taken over two Local Government Areas in Borno State. Recently, the War Institute in Biu was brazenly attacked with little or no resistance.

Similar incidences such as the persistent attacks on the Kaduna-Abuja railway and kidnappings are amongst the few fallouts of a demoralized security structure in the country. 

These events are clear manifestations of weak intelligence gathering and coordination. It is, therefore, time for Mr President to restructure the entire intelligence-gathering architecture of the country.

“It is sad to note that those who failed in intelligence gathering during the era of Buratai are elevated. Intelligence is key to any meaningful security operations and as such, due diligence must be taken in ensuring that only competent persons man intelligent agencies.

“It is possible to conclude that many criminal elements are taking advantage of the inefficiency of the poor intelligence system of the military in combating terror headlong as an avenue to continue to unleash mayhem on law-abiding citizens. This can only stop when new and capable persons are appointed to gather intelligence.

“For some time, there have been serious security lapses that culminated to loss of lives and destruction of property with most people pointing to the failure of intelligence agencies of the military, yet no one was made to pay for the mess. To worsen the situation, none of those responsible for securing the nation voluntarily resigned or took responsibility for their lapses. They sit comfortably in their offices and do nothing.

“The dynamics of war are changing especially now that insurgents and terrorists are becoming technologically advanced in their operations. It is only seasoned and experienced military officers who are abreast with current warfare tactics including the use of technologies such as drones can successfully salvage our security situation. Taking the game to the doorsteps of the terrorists is the only way to defeat them and secure the country.

“We call on Mr President to immediately appoint young, vibrant and experienced officers as service chiefs so as to give Nigeria an edge over the terrorists who have so far held the country hostage because of the cluelessness of the current security chiefs”, the group emphasized”, the statement added.

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