Tukur Yusuf Buratai, lieutenant general and chief of army staff, says President Muhammadu Buhari should not be pushed into sacking his service chiefs “because he knows where the problems are”.
There have been calls by federal lawmakers and other Nigerians on the president to sack the service chiefs following what appears to be the resurgence of Boko Haram.
Buratai, speaking in a special interview with TheCable and THISDAY/ARISE in Lagos on Tuesday, said while not questioning the wisdom of the national assembly, the solution is not the removal of service chiefs as Buhari “knows where it pinches” and is the right arbiter.
“I am tempted not to comment on this particular issue because I am directly involved. However, I want to believe that whatever happens, the commander-in-chief is the right arbiter, and he knows where it pinches, he knows where the problems are. I think the decision should be left to him. He should not be pushed or prompted in this regard,” he said.
Buratai said “we are into a very serious issue which should not be taken lightly”, adding: “This is why when you say a particular crop of leaders in the military should be removed for whatever reason, it sounds very odd because we are not addressing the issues. I am not saying this because I am the chief of army staff and I do not want to leave. No, that is not the issue. It is beyond that because this is a national issue, an issue of national pride and national interest. Those who would cry loudly against the service chiefs are within, and they are the ones who should be more vocal in the things that are not going right.”
The army chief also said contrary to the notion that Boko Haram started in 2009, the “brainwashing and indoctrination” started over 30 years ago, thereby making it difficult to totally wipe out terrorism.
He said the military has nonetheless won the war against insurgency as the Boko Haram militants do not control any territory in Nigeria.
Buratai said, however, that the war against terror will continue because the terrorists now feast on attacking soft targets “for the sake of propaganda”.
He advised the media not to help the terrorists ventilate the propaganda.