President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday took more decisive steps on the security situation in the country which he said was now in a state of emergency.
He made the declaration at a meeting with the new service chiefs. He also held separate meetings with the governors of Ondo and Oyo states as well as the Ooni of Ife.
A statement issued by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina quoted Buhari as saying “We’re in a state of emergency. Be patriotic, serve the country well, as your loyalty is to the country.”
The President congratulated the Service Chiefs on heading their various services, adding: “There’s nothing I can tell you about the service, because you are in it.
I was also in it, and I will pray for you. I also assure you that whatever I can do as Commander-in-Chief will be done, so that the people will appreciate your efforts.
“You know the stage we were in 2015, you know the stage we are now, and the undertakings we made. We promised to secure the country, revive the economy, and fight corruption. None has been easy, but we have certainly made progress.”
Buhari also charged the Service Chiefs to be concerned about the morale of their officers and men, saying they should be made to feel physically and professionally secure. He pledged that Government would do its best in terms of equipment and logistics.
The Service Chiefs, who were led to the meeting by the Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi (rtd), are: Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao.
The President had on Tuesday announced the appointment of the new Service Chiefs following the retirement of the resignation and retirement of the former Service Chiefs: Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
A statement issued by Adesina said the President thanked the former Service Chiefs for what he called their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,” wishing them well in their future endeavours.
The former Service Chiefs were appointed in July 2015 by Buhari.
Tuesday’s announcement of new Service Chiefs was the first time Buhari would change Security Chiefs since becoming President on May 29, 2015.
Buhari had been under pressure from many Nigerians calling for the sack of Service Chiefs following escalating security challenge in the country with high rate of killings, kidnappings and attacks in many parts of the country by the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
Last year, the Senate demanded for the sack of the Service Chiefs three different tines. The lawmakers had demanded for the sack in January while similar demands were made in July and December.
The Senate had urged Buhari to replace the Service Chiefs with new ones in order to inject fresh ideas and solutions to tackle security challenge in the country.