Not Right Time to Sack Service Chiefs, Says Presidency

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Boss Mustapha

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government on Tuesday broke its silence over the calls for the sack of service chiefs, saying: “This is not the right time to do so.”

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja at a book launch titled: “CAN, Religion, Politics and Power in Nigeria” written by a former General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Samuel Salifu, criticized those mounting pressure on government to sack the heads of security agencies.

Mustapha explained that there are processes to be followed if such a step must be taken, adding that Nigerians must be on the same page with government if the battle against insecurity must be won.

“You don’t sack people like that. There are processes and I believe that at the opportuned time, those processes will be followed. You don’t just wake up and say sack people, it doesn’t happen like that. We are in a very difficult time now. We need everybody to be on board. We need synergy within the intelligence community, within the military formations that will help fight this war,” he said.

The SGF described the position the country is now as a very difficult one that needs carefulness.

“We are in a very difficult situation and when we begin to create cracks and divisions, who will be the beneficiaries? The adversaries are the ones that are going to exploit those deficiencies and further the cause of destabilising the nation.

“At this moment, what we need is for everybody to be on the same page, fight the battle of securing the nation for protecting lives and property and ensuring that every Nigerian has the opportunity to live a prosperous live. I think that should be our main focus,” he said.

A former Federal Commissioner for Information and prominent Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark, attributed the insecurity and disunity in the country to religious difference.

He said the entire world is watching how President Muhammadu Buhari will handle the next appointment for the presidency of the Court of Appeal as the occupier bows out and the position becomes vacant on March 4, 2020 and that of the service chiefs which he said will soon be vacant.

Clark, who was represented by a former Nigeria Ambassador to Scandinavian countries — Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway — Mr. Godknows Igali, said: “I am very happy that the National Assembly, the Senate, wants to amend our constitution. Like I stated recently in the media, religion should be one of the critical areas the Senate should look into. Religious difference has been one of the main problems causing insecurity and disunity in the country.

“No religion should be regarded as superior to the other, or be given priority consideration. For instance, the whole country and indeed the international community is watching to see how Mr. President will handle the next appointments for the presidency of the Court of Appeal as the current occupier bows out and the position becomes vacant on March 4, 2020. And that of the service chiefs which will soon be vacant. My prayer is that Mr. President will do the correct thing.”

The CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, advised government to put an end to the killings in the country.

Ayokunle said: “Whatever is happening now will become history. This is why we should speak to those in government. Write good history about yourself. Let Nigerians know you for peace. I have said it again and again that the type of bloodshed that is going on now in Nigeria is not going to be a good history that we are going to recall.

“It will be good to make sure that those in government fight violence in Nigeria. Because if they fail to accomplish a Nigeria where there is peace and security, it will be sad and it will be part of their history forever and ever.”

Also, a former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, expressed concern over the rate of killings.

Onaiyekan said Nigeria will stand and flourish only when Muslims and Christians can walk together to make religion a factor of stability, unity, peace and prosperity.

“We must insist on that because I do not see any option. There is an easy way to peace and prosperity than through the way of war. All the terrible things that are going wrong in Nigeria. We do not want to arrive at that situation where you can now arrange a meeting and not be able to attend. Things are very hard but it could be better. The priority of the Christian faith is not negotiable which everybody knows,” he said.