- Cancels trip to Niger
Contrary to expectations, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday extended the tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin and the service chiefs.
The service chiefs are the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas.
There were rumours flying around before the approval for extension of the ,ilitary chiefs came on Monday that the president would appoint new officers to take over from them since their constitutionally recognised tenure had expired.
It was also argued by those bandying the false information that the government intended to use the new appointments to redraw the security architecture of the country said to have suffered lopsided geo-ethnic interests.
But contrary to the rumours, the government released a letter extending their tenure.
In a statement on the issue by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali through his Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, he said the president’s review of the on-going military operations in the northeast and the Niger Delta region and the efforts put in place by the Chief of Defence Staff and other Service Chiefs made him approve the extension.
The statement reads: “The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, having carefully reviewed the ongoing military operations across the nation and the efforts of the Chief of Defence staff and the Service chiefs in the counter insurgency operations in the North East coupled with the security situation of the Niger Delta region, has graciously approved the extension of tenure of service of General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai ,Chief of Army Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-EteIkwe Ibas, the Chief of Naval staff and Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, the Chief of Air staff.
“This extension is pursuant of the powers conferred on the President and Commander-in- chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by section 218 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and section 09.06 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions for Service for officers (2012) Revised.
“The Minister of Defence Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali therefore congratulates the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs for earning the confidence of the President, Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Force of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria leading to their extension of service,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, the President on Monday put off a scheduled trip to Niger.
President Buhari was scheduled to attend the 59th Proclamation of Republic of Niger ceremony in Tahoua, Niger.
Giving reasons for the cancellation, Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity Garba Shehu said President Buhari felt satisfied that he had useful discussions with his friend and brother, President Mahamadou Issoufou in the course of the weekend meeting in Abuja, of the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS).
He said “after a phone call last night between the leaders, President Buhari decided to send a delegation made up of the three governors of Katsina, Yobe and Borno states along with the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs to represent him.”