- Insiders hint on imminent shake-up
BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Barely 24 hours after Boko Haram terrorists reportedly killed five Nigerian soldiers in an ambush along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting held behind doors saw the two Service Chiefs briefing the President individually and immediately left the Aso Villa without volunteering any information to the State House Press Corps.
Coming on the heels of official confirmation that the five Nigerian soldiers lost their lives within the theatre of war, there are speculations the separate meetings, which had in attendance Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, may not be unconnected with the highly expected reshuffling in the nation’s Armed Forces’ hierarchy.
A statement by the Nigerian Army had confirmed that a colonel, a captain and three soldiers were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram terrorists on Wednesday.
The army said troops of 212 Battalion deployed at the base neutralised and killed an unconfirmed number of terrorists, who came in seven gun trucks, forcing them to beat a retreat along the Benisheikh-Damaturu axis.
The statement further explained that it was the ambush laid by fleeing terrorists for troops on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu that led to the death of the five soldiers.
Though our sources could not ascertain the Friday meeting’s agenda, given that both Security Chiefs met the President separately, it has become routine in recent times for the Service Chiefs and other Security heads to regularly meet and brief President Buhari every week on the Nation’s security situation.
Continuous killings and growing security challenges across the country have led to increasing calls on the President to overhaul the current security apparatus.
Critics of the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration have continued to cite alarming rate of insecurity that ranges from the Boko Haram onslaught in the North East, banditry in the North West, kidnapping and armed robbery as well as the rampaging herdsmen and farmers clashes across the nation.
Insiders however hinted that with the President set to submit to the National Assembly his long awaited list of Ministerial and other appointees, the coast seems clear to also have new Service Chiefs coming on board for the anticipatedbreadth of fresh air in Nigeria’s security space.
There are also hints that the President may have used meetings to personally appreciate the Service Chiefs ahead of the imminent shake-up in the country’s security circles.