The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said only the Nigerian leader, who doubles as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces could decide when the former Service Chiefs would leave office.
Confirming the appointment of new Service Chiefs in an interview with Voice of Nigeria soon after the news broke out, the Presidential spokesperson described the change of guards in the Armed Forces as a routine, adding that only the President could decide when to effect such changes based on information available to him.
He said, “Yes of course the President has accepted the resignation of the Service Commanders and he has appointed new ones to replace them. The new ones to replace them are Major General Leo Irabor, who is the Chief of Defence Staff; Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Gambo, the head of the Navy and Air Vice Marshal Amao, the Chief of Air Staff.
“This is a routine change and I believe that in making the change, the President has in mind the best possibilities for this country in matters of security.”
On why it took so long to effect the change people have been calling for, Shehu said:
“You know, under our own constitution, the appointment and replacement of Service Chiefs is entirely in the domain of the President as Commander in Chief and what we always told critics, who kept calling on him to change this or that is, the amount of information, intelligence and intellectual opinion on matters of security available to the President as Commander in Chief is not available to anyone of them.
“So therefore, what he sees, all of these critics or advocates don’t see that. This is why we consider them as being wrong and ought to give him the benefit of the doubt; and here we are, the time to make the changes has come because the President has decided that that is the time to do it.”
The Presidential Spokesperson expressed the hope that the new Service Chiefs will not let the President down.
When approached by VON State House Correspondent to comment on the new appointments, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was visiting the Chief of Staff to the President, subtly declined and snatched the recorder of our correspondent, saying he would conduct the interview.