The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume on Wednesday counseled President Muhammadu Buhari to give the newly appointed service chiefs timelines in tackling insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry and other security challenges in the country.
The Borno South Senator made the call while speaking with journalists in Abuja, adding that President Buhari should not just provide what the service chiefs need but also ask them to come up with a timeline when the war on insurgency would come to an end.
Ndume, who further called on President Buhari not to waste time in replacing them if they fail to perform, added that for the new service chiefs to deliver, the National Security Adviser, (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno, retd, should coordinate and monitor their activities and report on a weekly basis.
According to him, for the purpose of effective service delivery and professional respect, the new service chiefs should not report to the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
While calling for the setting up of a Situation Room to be domiciled in the office of the NSA, Ndume also argued that the service chiefs must come up with a war plan to address cases of insurgency, which he said is lacking in the country.
The Borno Senator also advocated for upfront release of allocations due to the military by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Ndume said: “In fact, I have been advocating and I am still advocating that now that there is a new set of service chiefs, their requirements should be front-loaded, that is to say, if they require so, so amount to execute the war, they should be exempted from quarterly allocations and be given their money upfront.
‘’Once the government does that, I suggest that the President should now in sitting with them for the first or second time, give them a timeline, that ‘Look! You want this, I have given you, you want this, I have given you, what else?’
‘’If they say nothing, ‘okay, give me a time when they should finish the war. That should determine their tenure. If they don’t perform, government should not waste time in replacing them.
“The appointment of the new service chiefs is a welcome development and that goes to show that the President is keeping to his words. I remember in his New Year broadcast, he made a promise that he was going to rejig the security apparatus and he assured Nigerians that the war against insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality that have been disturbing the country will be properly addressed.
“This (appointment of new service chiefs) is part of the implementation of his promise and also it is just a change of guards, so to say. But the good thing about it is that the new Service Chiefs are not only qualified but they have the field and operational experience. The CDS, I know him very well, I have worked with him in Maiduguri.
“He was a very performing officer and from there he was posted to the Joint Military Taskforce in the Lake Chad region and we have seen how gallant, intelligent and humble he is. It was during his tenure that he upgraded the civil-Army relations to a next level. He is experienced enough.
“The Chief of Army Staff was also a Theatre Commander at one-time, even though his tenure was very short. He knows the terrain very well, he has the experience.
“Also, the Chief of Air Staff was at the theatre, in fact, at one-time he was the deputy commandant of the Operation Lafiya Dole. And even the Chief of Naval Staff is not new to the terrain having come from Kano, he knows the place very well.
“So, we are expecting that with this development and being conversant with the insurgency problem in the North-East particularly and in the country in general, Nigerians by the several calls they have made for the change of the Service Chiefs, have very high expectation on the new Service Chiefs. But I am confident that this crop of people will be able to deal or address this issue.
“The good side of it is that the military hardware ordered by the government have started arriving and that will give them a better capability or capacity.
“Like the ground troops need the necessary air cover or air power and with the acquisition of fighter helicopters, 23 of them, I think they are coming in or have started arriving and I think they have received about 18 of them and with expected arrival of Tucano jets this year and also the fact that the budget of the Armed Forces has been improved, we are expecting also that their performance will improve.
“The only snag now or what is remaining is for the various MDAs responsible for making the releases especially the Ministry of Finance, should be releasing the monies that have been appropriated to the Armed Forces timely.”
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