The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and other members of the National Security Council on Thursday met 24 hours after Senators and members of the House of Representatives called for the sack of service chiefs.
The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), who briefed journalists on behalf of the council after the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the NSC did not discuss the call by the lawmakers. Both chambers of the National Assembly had on Wednesday lamented the rising insecurity in the country and called on the President to sack the service chiefs on the grounds that the security heads, who were appointed in 2015, had outlived their usefulness.
Besides calls for the sack of the service chiefs, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, on Wednesday had demanded the President’s resignation. Abaribe had condemned Buhari who, on Tuesday, said he was surprised by heightened banditry in the North-West and other forms of insecurity in other parts of the country.
The service chiefs – the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar – attended the quarterly security meeting, but hurriedly left the venue after the meeting ended, leaving Monguno to speak with reporters on the outcome.
When asked whether the call by the lawmakers was tabled at the meeting,Monguno replied, “The issue of the National Assembly resolution did not come up at the meeting.”
He, however, said the council was aware of the enormous security challenges facing the country. He said security agencies needed the collaboration of Nigerians to address complex insurgency the country was facing. Monguno said the meeting called for “wider collaborations” among security agencies on the one hand and the larger Nigerian society to tackle insurgency, banditry and rising cases of kidnapping in the country, on the other hand.
But the NSA failed to speak on the specifics of the collaboration and how it would be carried out. He merely said the collaboration would involve states, local governments and communities.
Apart from the security council’s failure to discuss the call for the service chiefs’ removal, the Presidency ignored enquiries on Thursday, seeking the position of the President on the resolution by the House of Representatives calling on him to fire the service chiefs.
Several failed attempts was made to get the two most senior media aides to the President, Mr Femi Adesina and Mr Garba Shehu, to speak on the National Assembly’s decisions. None of them responded to enquiries by the newspaper.