•Irabor: We will experience peace again
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor and the three service chiefs in very plain terms that they have just few weeks to adequately secure the nation.
This is just as the CDS promised to overhaul the nation’s security apparatus with a view to ensuring peace and tranquility across the country.
The President who spoke at the State House, Abuja after decorating the CDS with his new rank as four-star General and the service chiefs as three-star generals, charged the newly appointed service chiefs to speed up their actions in freeing the country from the current state of insecurity.
He said: “During our four-hour security meeting, on Tuesday, I had taken the responsibility as Commander-in-Chief for you to go out into the field and secure the country. You have got a few weeks to do that because by the rainy season, we expect people to develop confidence and go back to the land, so that we don’t get into trouble by being away from the field and therefore unable to produce enough food for the nation.”
President Buhari told the service chiefs to see their appointments, clearance and decoration as a vote of confidence on them: “For those of you that have been confirmed by this ceremony, the decoration, in front of your spouses, is a further confidence loudly expressed on you on behalf of the nation, to respond to the insecurity the country is in, and the nation looks up to you for rapid relief.”
He assured them of his firm support as they deliver on their responsibilities saying, “I have accepted responsibility for your actions in the field; it’s up to you to identify your competent officers irrespective of seniority and paper qualification and deploy them to make sure that we secure this country.
“We all look forward to you to perform and I, as the Commander-in- Chief, I am backing you hundred per cent, and I expect you to effectively deploy your officers and men to secure the country.”
Responding on behalf of the service chiefs, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor assured the President that they will not fail in their responsibilities as the mandate is clear.
“Nigeria will have peace again. Based on the mandate, we will address all issues, working with all other security organisations,” he said.
Answering questions after the decoration exercise, General Irabor promised to deliver on the few weeks the President gave them to secure the nation saying, “that is a matching order that Mr. President has given to us and we will work assiduously to achieve that.” He also assured that security fears will soon become a thing of the past among Nigerians: “We can’t live in fear and we will ensure that whatever brings fear to Nigerians before now will be a thing of the past.”
Asked what he and the service chiefs would be doing differently from what their predecessors did, the Defence Chief said they would follow their instructions to the subordinates with action.
He said: “I will rather say what we will not do. What we will not do is to give instructions to our subordinates and not do the same. By extension, we will command the troops based on the expectations that we have of them and they will do it according to the expectations that we have of them too.”
On the possibility of changing strategies in tackling the security challenges facing the nation, Irabor did not rule that out, adding that strategies are not sacrosanct.
“Of course, there are dynamics that we need to begin to look at, what needs to be reviewed, and that is precisely what we are doing currently. And we review various strategies and, of course, come up with new ones to be able to meet the demands of the current realities.”
The CDS told Nigerians to expect peace and adequate security within the next 100 days, saying “as members of the Armed Forces working in concert with the rest of the security agencies, we will bring Mr. President’s expectations to bear in terms of our task.
“But let me also let you know that the inevitable is that Nigerians will indeed experience peace and security across the land.”
Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff, was decorated with the rank of Lieutenant-General after his promotion from Major General.
Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff, is now a Vice Admiral, up from Rear Admiral.
Isiaka Amao, Chief of Air Staff, was decorated with the rank of Air Marshal, a step above Air Vice Marshal.
The ceremony was witnessed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); Bashir Magashi, Defense Minister, and Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President.
The new service chiefs were also accompanied to the ceremony by their wives and some senior officers of the Nigerian armed forces.