A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, has said the former service chiefs failed to protect Nigerians from criminals and their nefarious activities.
Recall President Muhammadu had sacked General Abayomi Olonisakin (Chief of Defence Staff); Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai (Chief of Army Staff); Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff); and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Chief of Air Staff).
According to a statement on Tuesday by Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President appointed Maj Gen Leo Irabor as the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj Gen I Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Rear Admiral A Z Gambo as the new Chief of Naval Staff, and AVM I O Amao as Chief of Air Staff (CAS).
In a statement released on Wednesday, Ozekhome said the former service chiefs failed woefully, describing their tenure as a “massive failure”.
He faulted the statement released by the Presidency that the service chiefs “resigned” from service. The lawyer described the statement as a “soft landing window-dressing”.
Ozekhome expressed optimism about the new service chiefs which he said: “they appear younger and lower in rank than their pot-bellied predecessors. That is all we can say for now”
He said: “Many Nigerians now suffer from the “Stockholm Syndrome”- a syndrome where an inexplicable, incongruous and unnatural love bond develops between a captive and a captor, between a victim and a tormentor, between a slave and a slave master.
“In more civilized countries, it would be announced that they had been outrightly sacked. Yes, summarily dismissed, for abysmally failing to live up to expectations.
“Had that been done in Nigeria, they probably would have mobilised their gullible and naive kinsmen, kinswomen and the ubiquitous ready to be hired activists, mercenaries and emergency NGOs of sheer mercantilism, to protest and demonstrate on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu, Uyo, Kaduna, Yola, Maiduguri, Benin, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Oshogbo, Calabar and Owerri, denouncing the injustice and unfairness.”
“But, Buhari’s more shocking aspect of the removal of the service chiefs from office, which has so far shocked Nigerians, is where he said he was congratulating them for their “overwhelming achievements” in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country.
“Enduring peace? Is this genuine peace, or peace of cemetery or the graveyards? My dictionary tells me that peace means tranquillity, calm, calmness, law and order, harmony, placidity, rest, armistice, friendship, brotherhood, serenity, contentment, amity, reconciliation,” he said.
“Can any Nigerian hold the Holy Bible, Holy Quran, or piece of iron (depending on your faith), and swear, that we have any of the above? I think not. I believe not.
“If Mr president meant “overwhelming achievements” in a massive failure, I would concur. But, if he meant overwhelming achievements in securing our country, I would not only disagree, I would say that is the unkindest oxymoron and irony, of all. I beg to differ, sir, Mr President.
“Is this change of baton merely cosmetic? Is it new wine in old calabashes? Has anything suddenly changed in terms of new equipment, surveillance and intelligence capacity and capability?” he asked.