Mike Ozekhome, Senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the outgoing service chiefs failed massively.
The president on Tuesday replaced Gabriel Olonisakin, Tukur Buratai, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Sadique Abubakar, chief of defence, army, navy and air force respectively who assumed office in 2015.
While Lucky Irabor now takes over as the defence chief, Ibrahim Attahiru is in charge of the army; Isiaka Amao is air force chief, and Awwal Gambo takes over the navy.
Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, who broke the news said: “President Buhari thanks the outgoing service chiefs for what he calls their overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country, wishing them well in their future endeavours.”
In a press statement on Wednesday, Ozekhome described the tenure of the former service chiefs as a “massive failure”.
He said the statement that the service chiefs “resigned” from service is a “soft landing window-dressing” done by the presidency.
“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,” Ozekhome said.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
The senior advocate said “the new service chiefs appear younger and lower in rank than their pot-bellied predecessors. That is all we can say for now”.
“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 said.
He said to improve security in the nation, the police force needs an immediate decentralisation so as to bring about federal, regional, state, and community policing.
“This means that sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 constitution should be amended immediately with the urgency of now,” he said.