***Flays extension of tenure of service chiefs
A pro-democracy group, Society for Good Governance (SGG), has raised alarm over the planned march of the military in the 36 states of the federation and the extension of the tenure of the service chiefs till December.
Defence Headquarters Wednesday announced that the entire military would from July 1, 2017, begin a March across the 36 states of the country in support of the Nigerian constitution and democracy . The DHQ also claimed that the tenure of service chiefs could be extended even beyond one year by the President.
Defence Spokesman, Major General John Enenche, had, in a statement, argued that “an officer’s career can be extended based on the interest of the service, in this case, Army, Navy and Airforce.
“In very exceptional cases, an officer’s career can be extended beyond one year for as long as necessary. Extension of service for officers can also be at the discretion of the Commander in Chief,’’ Enenche said.
But in a statement issued by the group in Jos, Plateau State capital and signed by Albert Mantiop, said Nigerians should be wary of planned military adventurism couched as march in defence of the constitution and democracy.
“At a time rumours of coup are all over the place which was confirmed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai to the effect that some politicians were infiltrating the military with a view to influence his officers to topple the government, the march across the 36 states is very suspicious.
“More suspicious is the sudden extension of the tenure of service chiefs, who are due to retire by July 1. What is the extension of the service chiefs for? Are there not other officers who are eminently qualified to take over from the retiring officers?
“The Nigerian Airforce in reaction to a publication accusing the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar of involvement in a coup plot, recently issued a statement saying it had no such involvement in any any plan to effect an unconstitutional change of government while maintaining that the training was in reaction to plans by terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, to bomb air bases in the country.
“After that statement, the United Kingdom began a retraining of the Nigerian Airforce personnel, another curious training exercise”, the statement said.
SGG further recalls that “The Nzeogwu coup of 1966 started as a military exercise called operation Damisa, IBB’s coup was planned during a military exercise in the South East. The March for the defence of the constitution and democracy smells like a coup plot especially when there are genuine agitations for the restructuring of the federation of Nigeria”.
“If there is a coup plot in order to quench the raging calls for restructuring, it would definitely be dead on arrival as the citizenry will not be cowed by any section of the country to continue to live under Hobbes’ state of nature- where live is short and brutish. We are calling on Nigerians to be alert to this grand design by a minority seeking to subjugate the 170 million people”, the statement said.
The Defence Headquarters said the exercise tagged “Together we are” would be conducted across the country and the slogan would be “Together we are: Protecting lives and property, ensuring unity and progress, supporting democracy, upholding the Constitution, and defending national interests”.
Enenche did not disclose the routes of the solidarity march for what he called security reasons.
“The physical fitness of members of the Security and Response Agencies is germaine to the effectiveness of its members, especially in the face of contemporary security challenges in the Country. In the same vein, group interaction through an exercise such as route march is an enhancer of espirit de corps and harmony among members of the Security and Response Agencies.”
“It is in view of these, that a Route March Exercise titled “TOGETHER WE ARE” is to be conducted on quarterly basis involving the Military, Para Military and Security Responses Agencies in Nigeria. The slogan for the Exercise is: ”TOGETHER WE ARE ”
a. Protecting Lives and Property. b. Ensuring Unity and Progress. c. Supporting Democracy. d. Upholding the Constitution. e. Defending National Interests.
“Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Long Live the Security Agencies.
” The maiden “TOGETHER WE ARE” route march exercise will take place across the Nation on 1st July 2017. The general public is hereby notified that there will be movement of troops and other security agencies in the course of this exercise.
” Your cooperation and understanding is highly solicited. Be rest assured that; Together we, as members of the Security and Response Agencies in Nigeria are always there to; Protect Lives and Property; Ensure Unity and Progress, Support Democracy, Uphold the Constitution and Defend our National interests. ”
***Flays extension of tenure of service chiefs