*We can’t leave Nigeria’s peace in terrorists hands—Irabor
*We will restore peace in 100 days
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, charged the newly appointed service chiefs to speed up their actions in freeing the country from the current state of insecurity.
President Buhari gave the charge at a ceremony to decorate the new service chiefs with their ranks at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, “During our four-hour security meeting, on Tuesday, I had taken the responsibility as Commander-in-Chief for you to go out into the field and secure the country.
“You have got a few weeks to do that because by the rainy season, we expect people to develop confidence and go back to the land, so that we don’t get into trouble by being away from the field and therefore unable to produce enough food for the nation.”
He told the service chiefs to see their appointment, clearance and decoration as a vote of confidence in them.
“For those (of you) that have been confirmed by this ceremony, the decoration, in front of your spouses, is a further confidence loudly expressed in you on behalf of the nation, to respond to the insecurity the country is in, and the nation looks up to you for rapid relief.”
President Buhari in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, assured them of his firm support as they deliver on their responsibilities.
He said: “I have accepted responsibility for your actions in the field; it’s up to you to identify your competent officers irrespective of seniority and paper qualification and deploy them to make sure that we secure this country.
“We all look forward to you to perform and I as the Commander-in- Chief, I am backing you 100 per cent, and I expect you to effectively deploy your officers and men to secure the country.”
Responding on behalf of the other service chiefs, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor assured the President that they will not fail in their responsibilities as the mandate is clear.
“Nigeria will have peace again. Based on the mandate, we will address all issues, working with all other security organisations,” he said.
Speaking to State House correspondents, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said that the Nigerian Armed Forces will never in any way leave peace and security of the nation in the hands of the terrorists.
General Irabor said instead, the Armed Forces will determine the peace and will not leave it in the hands of the terrorists.
He was before his appointment as CDS a Major General.
Fielding question on the role played by the Nigerian military in the recent negotiations that led to the release of abducted school children by their abductors, he said that the security agencies built bridges across various divides.
According to him, “Peace and security is not just the security of the boarders alone. It comes with having to build bridges across various divides.
Also answering question on the the next big step to be taken to secure the country, General Irabor said: “ I’m glad you talk about the next big step. Nigerians expect us to bring about peace and security in concert with other security agencies, that we will do. We can’t live in fear. And we will ensure that whatever brings fear to Nigerians before now will be a thing of the past.”
He, however, declined to reveal how he intends to achieve that, and simply said,” that is the trump card that I will not reveal to you.”
Asked what he will be doing differently from his predecessors, the Chief of Defence Staff said,”I will rather say what we will not do. What we will not do is to give instructions to our subordinates and not do the same. By extension, we will command the troops based on the expectations that we have of them and they will do it according to the expectations that we have of them too.”
Further asked whether he would consider changing strategies, he said: “Strategies are not sacrosanct. Of course, there are dynamics that we need to begin to look at, what needs to be reviewed, and that is precisely what we are doing currently. And we will review various strategies and of course come up with new ones to be able to meet the demands of the current realities.”
He said that the President has given the Service Chiefs marching orders to achieve results in few weeks and that they will work assiduously towards achieving that.
Asked what Nigerians expect in the next 100 days, he said: “No doubt, next 100 days is not as important as today. I believe that as members of the Armed Forces working in concert with the rest of the security agencies, we will bring Mr President’s expectations to bear in terms of our task.
“But let me also let you know that the inevitable is that Nigerians will indeed experience peace and security across the land.”
Others decorated are Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo as Chief of Naval Staff and Air Marshal Isiaka Amao as Chief of Air Staff.