A few days after declaring that the West African sub-region might be under siege from transnational jihadi groups such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, (AQIM), ISIS, etc, the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the extension of the tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff and the service chiefs. The action can thus be interpreted as a vote of confidence on the conduct of Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operations by the political leadership of Nigeria. The service chiefs refer to the head of the Army, the Navy and the Air force.
The beneficiaries are General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai Chief of Army Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ikwe Ibas, the Chief of Naval staff and Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, the Chief of Air staff.
The current set was appointed in July 2015. The extension of tenure has been located in powers the president enjoys as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 218 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and section 09.06 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions for Service for officers (2012) Revised. It must be that service chiefs have a definite tenure of three years by the provisions of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions for Service for officers (2012) under reference. This might be why the announcement did not clarify what the extension of tenure refers to as whether it is re-appointment or mere extension by a specific duration.
The media statement from Colonel Tukur Gusau, the Public Relations Officer to the Hon Minister of Defence equally represented the exercise as a product of a careful review of on-going military operations across the nation and the efforts of the Chief of Defence staff and the Service chiefs in the counter insurgency operations in the North East and the security situation in the Niger Delta region.
Defence Minister, Alhaji Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali, has already commended the beneficiaries for earning the confidence of the C-in-C.