There was reported jubilation in some military barracks across the country, when the news of the sacking of the former service chiefs filtered in on Tuesday and the announcement of their replacements.
A 20-second video captured the moment some personnel of the Nigerian Navy in their barracks believed to be in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, screamed and danced over the development.
Sources told SaharaReporters that there was also jubilation in some army barracks across the country over the announcement.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday appointed new Service Chiefs and finally fired the Chief of Defence Chief, General Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, after the four had spent five years and five months in office.
Although Buhari said on Tuesday that he accepted their resignation letters, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, already clarified in the past that the military chiefs could not resign and had to be laid off by the Commander-In-Chief.
Buhari had on July 13, 2015, appointed Olonisakin, Buratai, Ibas, and Abubakar.
In a State House press release on Tuesday, Buhari’s Special Adviser, Femi Adesina, said the new service chiefs were Major-General Leo Irabor as the CDS, Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru as the army chief, Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo as the naval chief and Air-Vice Marshal I. O. Amao as the new air chief.
“People dey happy say they don change CNS o,” one of the navy personnel said in the video.
“Who will not be happy that they were replaced? It was long overdue, they had become principalities and they had stagnated the career progression. I don’t think they resigned. They were fired. The three service chiefs were supposed to visit the Ministry of Defence headquarters, Ship House, on Tuesday afternoon but the meeting was cancelled in the last minute when the announcement filtered into the country,” a Ministry of Defence top official told SaharaReporters.
Olonisakin is the longest serving CDS since 1999. The closest to him was Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi (retd.), who served for four years and 29 days between May 29, 1999 and June 27, 2003.
Also, Buratai is the longest serving COAS since 1999. The closest to him was Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (retd.), who spent three years and four months in office; between September 2010 and January 2014.
Ibas is also the longest serving CNS since 1999, while the closest person to him was Vice Admiral S. O. Afolayan, who served for four years, between 2001 and 2005.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported last week that the outgoing military chiefs had awarded four Sport Utility Vehicles, four Peugeot vehicles, among other juicy retirement benefits to themselves, according to the 2017 Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers, which their administration revised.
SaharaReporters had obtained the new HTACOS 2017 which revealed that the military chiefs will get security staff of over 40 soldiers as well as domestic and foreign medical cover.