The Senate says it will persuade President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the military chiefs due to the rising spate of insecurity in Nigeria.

The lawmakers had in July asked the Service Chiefs comprising the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Naval Staff to step aside following the killings of soldiers fighting insurgency and banditry in the northern part of the country.

The decision to relieve the service chiefs of their duties came after the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume moved a motion during plenary on Friday, August 14, 2020.

Senator Ali Ndume is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army. (ThePunch)
Senator Ali Ndume is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army. (ThePunch)

According to ThePunch, the motion titled ‘Matter of urgent national importance’ was premised on the rising number of casualties among the armed forces and other security agencies.

Ndume said, “Just recently, 24 soldiers were ambushed and killed along the Gamboa-Maiduguri Road in Borno State. At least 19 were wounded, while nine were declared missing in action.

“It is also disturbing that in Katsina recently, about 20 soldiers were ambushed and killed, while several others were wounded. The number of civilian casualties is not known.

“If the trend continues, it will have serious implications on the fight against insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality in the country.

“Recently, it was alleged that over 236 soldiers voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army.”

In addition to Ndume’s point of order, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, in his prayer demanded that the service chiefs step aside, ThePunch reports.

The Senate approved the prayer and passed a resolution on it, but the Presidency in its reaction said President Muhammadu Buhari was not legally bound to act on the resolution of the legislature.

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Service Chiefs at the Presidential Villa. [Twitter/@NigerianGov]
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Service Chiefs at the Presidential Villa. [Twitter/@NigerianGov]

The Presidency added that the President reserved the power to sack or retain the service chiefs.

Meanwhile, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru in a recent interview said the lawmakers would continue to persuade the president to act on its resolution.

He said, “We, however, still want to persuade the President to consider our resolution. The Presidency has said it is aware of our resolution and has pledged to look into it.

“The Presidency said it is not legally bound to carry out (our) resolution because it is the prerogative of the President to remove service chiefs.

Bashiru also disclosed that following the Senate’s deliberation with the executive on decentralisation of the police and additional recruitment into the Force, the plan is already in the works.