Again, the Senate on Tuesday asked Nigeria’s military chiefs to step aside from office on Tuesday over the degeneration of the security situation in the country.
The Service Chiefs made up of Chief of Air Staff , Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar ; and Chief of Naval Staff , Admiral Ibik –Eke Ibas ; Chief of Army Staff ; Lt. General Tukur Buratai and the Chief of Defence Staff , General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin were appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
Though have since been due for retirement, the President has continued to extend their tenure despite the worsening security situation in the country.
The President has resisted calls to sack the security chiefs in the past, though some weeks ago, he expressed disappointment in their performance.
But while making the fresh call that it is time for the service chiefs to go on Tuesday, the Senate said their stepping aside will allow others with new ideas to come in into the fight against insecurity so as not to jeopardise the security system in the country.
The latest demands followed a Point of Order raised by Sen. Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) during plenary on “The Rising Casualties among the Nigerian Army and other Security Agencies”.
Rising under orders 42 and 52, Ndume raised concerns over the various reports on the number of casualties among the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.
“Just recently 24 soldiers were ambushed and killed along Damboa-Maiduguri road in Borno; 19 were wounded and nine were declared missing in action.
‘The senate is disturbed that in Katsina again about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed why several others were wounded.
“The number of civilian casualty is not known.
“The senate appreciates the sacrifices of our armed forces in the fight against insurgency, banditry and protection of the territorial integrity of Nigeria and several other security assignments given to them.”
The lawmaker further said that if the trend continued it would have serious implications on the fight against insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality in the country.
Contributing, Sen. Istifanus Gyang (PDP-Plateau) said that the motion was very disturbing as it brought out the very unsavoury and gory details on disturbing developments from the front lines by soldiers fighting insurgency and banditry across states of the nation particularly in the north.
“The reports of repeated loss of life of soldiers and desertions is the order of the day.
“And the latest development that is novel and unprecedented is the resignation of over 200 soldiers.This shows the level of disaffection and disenchantment.
“This calls for an urgent scrutiny by the Senate of the strategic, the tactical and operational details of operation by the armed forces”.
Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi said that the senate would not keep quite to the importance of the issue.
“And whenever challenges of the nature that have occurred as narrated by Sen. Ali Ndume, we should come out very clearly to show our disgust and at the same time commend those operating as security forces who lay their lives so that we can survive to be free.
“We all know that this Senate has done on so many occasions brought this issue of security of lives and property in this country on the floor of this Senate at various interactions that we have arranged with security forces and security institutions.
“And at every point when any amount of engagement is done between the leadership of the national assembly and particularly the leadership of this Senate with the President of the Federal Republic.
“We have gone ahead over the years to establish so many committees whose reports we have endorsed in this chamber and submitted to the Executive for action.
“I’m quite aware over the years a lot of these reports have been there and they have been lying, and sometimes unimplemented and this has been the bane of a lot of the work that had been done in the security sector.
“The issue that now faces us is that the readiness of our armed forces to really confront these challenges is now under a lot of pressure and this pressure is reflected in the amount and number of soldiers we are losing due to ambush by terrorists and bandits.
“This particular issue needs to be tackled. It means our security forces will have to reorganise their deployment, they have to employ new tactics in this fight,” Abdullahi said.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said that “The spirit of this motion is that our armed forces are trying very hard.
“Just like the President said the good is still not enough but we need to continue to encourage them, we need to continue to provide for them.
“They lay their lives on behalf of all of us and of course, it is very sad that some of them are deserting; are alleged to have deserted the war front. We need to get to the bottom of this,” he said
At the end of the debate, the Senate passed a resolution for the present crop of service chiefs to step aside for new ideas to come in in the fight against insecurity so as not to jeopardise the security system in the country.
Other resolutions by the upper chamber was for the Federal Government to urgently provide modern equipment to enhance the operational capabilities of the armed forces.
The Senate also mandated its committees on Defence, Army, Air force, Navy, Interior, National Security and Nigeria Police to receive briefings on the state of affairs of the services.