Northern Elders Forum have cautioned Nigerians against assuming that the change in Service Chiefs will dramatically change the nation’s fortunes against its many security challenges.
The forum in a statement issued on Wednesday by Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to henceforth “reduce his distance from defence and security matters, and hold Service Chiefs and senior commanders accountable for successes and failures”.
According to the forum, the new service chiefs will be a lot more effective if they are inspired by a president who adopts an involved and active interest in their conduct, records and performances.
While welcoming the appointment of new service chiefs, the northern elders suggested that the change of leadership in the nation’s Armed Forces be seen as a signal that president Buhari accepts the need to affect major changes in his disposition to security issues and improvements in the nation’s capacities to deal with security and public safety.
Dr. Baba-Ahmed further noted that events unfolding in the Southwestern part of the country, particularly inflammatory comments and threats by groups and individuals, represent existential threats to the whole nation.
“The Forum warns the nation not be misled into thinking that these changes will dramatically change the nation’s fortunes in its fight against multiple security threats.
“Nigerians will hope that these changes, even if belated, are intended as a response to the persistent demands for changes at leadership levels as part of the requirements to improve professionalism, morale and integrity of command structures of our Armed Forces.
“The Forum believes that priorities of the new Service Chiefs should include real improvements in professional standards and morale of fighting men and women as well fighting corruption within the Armed Forces.
“They will be aware that our frustrations regarding access to vital weapons and criticisms from foreign and domestic monitors of the war are related to the manner our Armed Forces execute the war, and it will be important for them to lead a military which will operate with higher standards of respect for rules of engagement,” part of its statement read.
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