The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday asked the country’s service chiefs to step aside as a result of the rising insecurity in the country.
The resolution of the upper legislative chamber followed a motion sponsored by Ali Ndume, Senator representing Borno South and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army.
The demand for the resignation of the Service Chiefs was put forward in a proposed amendment to the resolutions of the Senate moved by Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi and seconded by Betty Apiafi.
Senate also urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency, provide modern equipment to enhance the operational capabilities of the armed forces.
Sponsor of the original motion, Senator Ali Ndume, while coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, noted with concern the various reports of casualties among soldiers of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.
According to the lawmaker, 24 soldiers were recently ambushed and killed along Damboa-Maiduguri road in Borno State, with 19 wounded and 9declared missing in action.
“The Senate is disturbed that in Katsina again about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed while several others were wounded.
“The Senate appreciates the sacrifices of our armed forces in the fight against insurgency, banditry and protection of the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“The Senate is concerned that if the trend continues, it will have serious implication on the fight against insurgency and banditry in the country,” Senator Ndume added.
The Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, in his contribution, called on Security Agencies to change their tact and strategy of deployment in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Accordingly, the Senate after holding a minute silence for the fallen soldiers, mandated the joint Committees on Army; Airforce; Navy; National Security and Nigeria Police, to receive briefing on the state of affairs of the services in this regard.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, while condoling the families of slain soldiers, charged the Senate Joint Committees to investigate alleged desertion of the army by soldiers at the war front.
He said, “the spirit of this motion is that our armed forces are trying very hard, but just like the President said, their good is not good enough.
“We need to continue to encourage and provide for them. They lay their lives on behalf of us, and of course, it is very sad that some of them are alleged to have deserted the war front.
“We need to get to the bottom of this. Our joint committee should be able to find out the facts about this allegation of over 200 deserting the war front.”
Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff; Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff; and Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff; are all due for retirement.
Despite calls for their sack, President Muhammadu Buhari has kept them in office.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has said that the removal of Service Chiefs can only be done by President Buhari.
In a statement on Tuesday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said, “The Senate on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling on the service chiefs to resign or be sacked due to multi-prolonged security challenges in the country.
“The Presidency notes the resolution, and reintegrates that appointment or sack of service chiefs is a Presidential prerogative, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.”