Presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to keep service chiefs despite clamour by Nigerians for their sack.
Shehu, while reacting to the condemnations that trailed the killing of 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari town, Borno state, during a live programme on Arise TV, said hiring and firing of service chiefs is exclusively for the president.
Nigerians have called for the sack of service chiefs in the wake of renewed attacks by insurgents.
Reacting to the call by several Nigerians who also want the president to rejig the country’s security architecture, Shehu said the decision to sack or retain any of the service chiefs is entirely the president’s.
The presidential spokesman said, “I am not aware that the tenure of service chiefs is subjected to any law or regulation that is clearly stated. They serve at the pleasure of the president and (if) the president is satisfied with their performance, he keeps them. The buck stops on his table —with due respect to the feelings of Nigerians.
“The clamour for the sack is out of place considering that the president is not subject to the opinion of opposition political party which has clamoured for this all the time. It is entirely his own determination; he decides who he keeps as his service chiefs and for how long.”
Boko Haram were reported to have first tied up the farmers, who were working in rice fields, before slitting their throats.
Shehu had said the farmers had no military clearance to be on the rice farms when the attack happened.
His reaction was greeted by outrage on social media as many Nigerians lambasted him for blaming the dead.
Explaining further last night, Shehu said, “My suggestion in the earlier news report is that the military had not certified those areas as being free of landmines and terrorists’ intrusions. Whether there are processes for getting licences or commissions, it is not for me, the military is in a better position to describe those processes.”