Apr. 15, 2013
With an unusual grandstanding and harsh words, the Nigerian military today warned political office holders and civil servants that the nation’s armed forces are already running out of patience with the manner things are going in the country especially the unbridled looting of public funds and undue interference in the runnings of military operations.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika issued the threats separately today though in a manner that suggests that their decision to make the declaration was predetermined and coordinated. They both spoke in their offices in Abuja while receiving the new Permanent Secretary posted to the Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Ismaila. The CDS who fired the first shot at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) categorically declared that the military was fast running out of patience with the “pile of mess” being created in the polity as reflected in the runnings of the Ministry of Defence.
“You find too many stories about grandstanding, stories about procurement. I hope your tour of duty will focus on these issues. I will close this my response by saying that you inherited a pile of work, let me call it work, some call it pile of mess. You have to clear it up”, the CDS warned while referring to the corruption rooted in the MOD.
Also speaking in the same tone, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika warned that the military have had enough from political office holders in the MOD interfering in their operational issues. He condemned the practice where civilians in the ministry preside over the procurement of military logistics and operations vehicles amongst others without the involvement of relevant service chiefs.
“Your appointment has come at a time we require a lot of improvement in defence affairs. Some of our operations are not taken into consideration in the making of the budget. For a nation that has experienced peace for so long, a lot of things are taken for granted”, the COAS stated, adding that at the moment the Nigerian Army lacks adequate operations vehicles, accommodation, arms and ammunitions amongst others because of bureaucratic bottlenecks.
In his response, the Permanent Secretary told Ihejirika that, “the mandate of the ministry of Defence is to provide services to you and I am here with a sincere heart to provide support to you. There is a challenge and by the responsibility I am carrying, I plead with you for support to carry this responsibility. I am coming at a time that there are great challenges, great expectations from you. Yes, there are challenges of friction between the ministry and you, but I assure you that this is a thing of the past.
“The Chief of Defence Staff talked about quality of staff. I have briefed all my Directors that there is a wind of change. It is no more business as usual. Whatever needs to be done must be done properly. I came with a name and I want to go back with that name and I will not allow anybody to deter my determination.”
While assuring the COAS that he has noted the areas the military officers want to be carried along which include “finance, procurement and other logistics areas” the new Perm. Sec. said “immediately after my meeting with you, I intend to hold meetings with Directors and set timeline for all we do. In areas of procurement, these are areas of your needs. You know what you want and who can do the best for you. Anything that has to do with procurement, I will personally discuss it with you to give you what you want. There will be no more friction. Should you have any issues, please Sir, feel free to call me and discuss with me.” -Ireports