President Muhammadu Buhari told the Senate on Tuesday that the appointment or sacking of service chiefs remained his prerogative as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the country.
He said he would decide when to remove the current service chiefs and appoint new ones to replace them.
The reaction came moments after the Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday asking him to sack the service chiefs, owing to widening security challenges in the country.
The response, delivered by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, stated, “The Presidency notes the resolution, and reiterates that appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a Presidential prerogative, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.”
The Senate passed the resolution following a motion moved by the Chairman of its Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume.
Ndume, who is from Borno State, the epicentre of the Boko Haram terrorism, noted flaws in the counter-terrorism operations, including the increasing attacks against soldiers by insurgents and the resultant loss of lives.
He told the session that increasing number of soldiers dying could frustrate the war against terrorism.
The senator argued further that there was the urgency to do something about it by changing strategies.
Ndume added that fear had also set in, as could be seen in the number of soldiers resigning from military service lately.
Amid the presentation, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Ayo Fadahunsi, sought a prayer to be added to the motion, demanding that the service chiefs be removed.
It was adopted.
The motion was passed in unanimous voice vote after the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, put the question and rammed his gavel.
The resolution specifically asked Buhari to sack the service chiefs and bring in new hands with fresh ideas.
The Senate also summoned the service chiefs to appear before its joint committees to give an update on the security situation of the country.
Incidentally, the resolution came a day after Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, met at the State House, Abuja.
Buratai, at the meeting, briefed Buhari on the current military operations against insurgency, banditry and kidnapping in parts of the country, particularly the North-East and North-West.
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He claimed that soldiers were doing very well and were high spirits because of the “successful” operations to route insurgents and bandits.
Buratai had also said that if Nigerians wanted insurgency and banditry to end, they would support the military by volunteering information to strengthen the operations.
The COAS had stated that “99 per cent” of bandits were Nigerians, hence it shouldn’t be difficult for the same Nigerians to volunteer information to security agencies on their whereabout.