PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu has dismissed calls for the sacking of Nigeria’s service chiefs over their failure to tackle insecurity in the country pointing out that his principal is satisfied with their performance.
Over the weekend, 43 farmers were slaughtered by Boko Haram in Borno State in what appeared to be a reprisal punishment. This latest slaughter comes on the back of rising insecurity, especially across northern Nigeria where Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and armed bandits have taken over large swathes of the country.
Following the latest bloodshed in which Boko Haram were so brazen that they lined up the farmers and slit their throats one-by-one, there have been calls for President Buhari to sack his service chiefs. Upon assuming office in 2015, President Buhari appointed a chief of general staff and new heads of the army, navy and air force, giving them a mandate to eliminate the terrorist sect Bioko Haram.
Despite repeated false dawns, they have been unable to rout Boko Haram and President Buhari has been under pressure to replace them. However, Mallam Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, said the clamour for the sacking of the service chiefs is out of place.
According to Mallam Shehu, the president has the prerogative to appoint or sack any of the country’s service chiefs, adding that he can also keep them for as long as he is satisfied with their performance. He did not see the killing of the 43 rice farmers un Zabarmari village in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State last Saturday as a good enough reason for a change.
Mallam Shehu said: “I am not aware that the tenure of service chiefs is subjected to any law or regulation that is clearly stated. They serve at the pleasure of the president and if he is satisfied with their performance, he keeps them.
“The buck stops at his table, with due respect to the feelings of Nigerians. The clamour for the sack is out of place considering that the president is not subject to the opinion of opposition political party which has clamoured for this all the time.
“It is entirely his own determination. He decides who he keeps as his service chiefs and for how long.”