Given the enormity of security challenges bedevilling the nation, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has warned that the change of Service Chiefs should not be a mere cosmetic exercise. The forum has stressed that new security chiefs must be competent, knowledgeable and willing to go the exta-mile in winning the war against insurgency.

Speaking through its spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the NEF said the nation should not be carried away by the change, stressing that while it is important that the Armed Forces has new leadership, it is more pertinent to note that the new leaders understand that they have a huge task.

Dr Baba-Ahmed who was a guest on said: “At last it appears the president has conceded that it is time for him to appoint new Service Chiefs. Our hope is that he is not just responding to public opinion but he himself acknowledges the fact that the old Service Chiefs have run out of steam and their leadership of the service is not producing the results it was intended to produce.”

The Director, Publicity, and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum was of the opinion that the President as Commander-In-Chief has the responsibility to lead the new Service Chiefs in a better way than he did in the past.

“The key person is the president, he has to change his attitude to the defence and security of this country. You cannot run this country with all these security challenges and maintain the distance that he maintains with what is going on.

“You listen to the president and his spokespeople are telling you the situation is better than it was in 2015. It is a very disturbing thing when you hear this.

“There are no suicide bombings now but the population of Nigerians living under Boko Haram and suffering their atrocities is large, huge, and unacceptable.”

For quite a while, President Buhari has been pressured to do away with the old service chiefs and bring in fresh leaders who will go on to prosecute the war against the insurgents within the northeast, as well as quash the rising cases of banditry and kidnapping.

In what would seem an answer to the repeated calls for the removal of the old leaders of the Armed Forces, President Buhari on Tuesday accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs and appointed new officers as replacements.

The new service chiefs are Major-General Leo Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao as Chief of Air Staff.

While this is a welcomed development to many Nigerians, the Northern Elders Forum through its spokesman noted that now that the president has made the replacements, it is only the beginning of much more that is needed.

“The military is a lot more than just changing Service Chiefs, you need to look at the military as an institution. There is something fundamentally wrong within the Nigerian Military that was internationally known as competent and effective.

“We are fighting a rag-tag army that is now virtually fighting us as equals; because the Nigerian military has not defeated them, they are winning the war.”

NEF spokesman, Dr Baba-Ahmed said there is a political context in which nations fight and Nigeria must understand this political context even as it prosecutes the war against insurgency.

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