Dear President Muhammadu Buhari,
As you clock five years in office, the question about the departure of Nigeria Service Chiefs has come up again, for the umpteenth time. On Monday July 13, 2015, you appointed Defence Chief, Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin; Army Chief, Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Air Chief, Sadique Baba Abubakar; and Naval Chief, Ibok Ekwe Ibas.
The truth is that majority of Nigerians, including members of your party, All Progressives Congress (APC), are hoping that you will order their long overdue exit. Some are of the opinion that you probably want to retain them till the end of your tenure in 2023, a mockery of the quartet’s prolonged stay in office.
Word on the street is that since you assumed office, security has not really improved. The grouse of the complainants cannot be wholly countered because safety of lives and property was a major factor that made millions supported and voted you into power. Being a former General, they anticipated that you would bring your warfare tactics to bear.
Alas, you seem overwhelmed, Sir. We have lost count of the number of times you ordered the military to wipe out insurgents. Even your directives accompanied with ultimatum did not yield desired results. At times it appeared that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have been decimated, the sects remind security agencies of their existence.
They do this by killing, kidnapping soldiers and civilians, bombing soft targets, beheading clerics, attacking villages, looting households, seizing boys and girls for forced initiation and marriage. Their atrocities know no bounds. In your capacity as the Commander-in-Chief, these incidents are contained in the intelligence briefings you receive.
Mr. President, the North-East region is grappling with an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The elderly, women and children are the most affected. It is heart-rending indeed, the people are suffering. The United Nations (UN) says Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – code-named BAY States – are nearly 2 million.
This means that 1 percent of Nigeria’s population in three states are refugees in their own country, the biggest in Africa. It is implausible that with such statistics, and many other disturbing reports by local and international groups, rights organisations, the media and affected communities, the military heads have remained in office. No removal, no resignation.
While gallant troops are battling to rout terrorists, bandits and violent herdsmen/farmers are adding insult to injury. They continue to cause sleepless nights in North-West and North-Central. States in other regions are not safe either. It is for this reason that South-West Governors established the Western Nigeria Security Network aka Amotekun.
South-East and South-South are not spared. The Governors have hinted that they may as well jointly set up regional outfits to protect their domain. We are seeing some state governments negotiate with outlaws, this is partly due to the inadequacies of those tasked with the responsibility of crushing them. We should not be pacifying murderers.
Mr. President, why have you rebuffed calls to replace the Service Chiefs? The National Assembly also made the recommendation, yet you have remained adamant. The Nigerian Senate once stated that you have not acted due to what they described as the ‘sensitive nature of the issue’. Citizens are wondering if there is more than meets the eye.