Insecurity: Christian group rallies support for Chief of Defence Staff, General Olonishakin

….vows to defend attempts to rubbish Service Chiefs’ performance on religious bias

The Nigerian Christian Youth Assembly (NCYA) has thrown its weight behind Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, for fostering synergy amongst the different military components which has proven to be the catalyst in their numerous operations.

The group made this known in a statement co-signed by Rev Philip Attah and Pastor Stephen Onwu, its President and Secretary-General respectively on Tuesday.

According to NCYA, the appointment of Gen. Olonisakin in July 2015 is the turning point in the fight against insurgency and other criminal elements that once bedevilled the nation.

The group revealed that this was achieved through the Defence Chief’s coordination and cooperation amongst the different units of the military as well as restructuring of its operations strategically.

While admitting pockets of security challenges, NCYA reckoned that it is nothing compared to five years ago.

In other to sustain the momentum, the Christian youths believes Gen. Olonisakin and the military chiefs would have to continue on the job.

The group, however, rejected the call for their dismissal, describing it as  disservice to the place of merit, hard work and professionalism.

It added that this is the handiwork of mischiefmakers, embarking on the campaign as a way of displaying their total disdain for Christians in leadership positions across the country.

The Christian youths, therefore, vowed to defend attempts to rubbish Service Chiefs’ performance on religious bias.

Read full statement below:

It is abundantly clear almost to everyone that the Nigeria military is facing its most engaging moment in its history. The military aside fighting the brutal war against insurgency is also carrying out various operations in almost all the states of the federation.

At no point in the military’s history has it been tasked this much, but for the men in uniform who have staked their lives for us all perhaps the evil terrorist would have run the whole nation over.

We at The Nigerian Cristian Youth Assembly cannot forget in a hurry the attacks by insurgents in the early days of the war against Boko Haram how they over run several towns, communities and many local governments. We do not forget in a hurry in some instances where they carted away many young children with them, they hoisted flags, in some instances made laws and even set up courts for judging offenders. That was how bad the situation was then.

In 2015 when President Buhari came to power, whilst some accused him of delay in appointing ministers, one of his very early appointments was that of the service chiefs, from that action it was clear to us that the President meant business.

He went for the best of the best amongst the service men and women. The service chiefs headed by the Chief of Defense Staff General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin was obviously a smart choice by Mr. President.

Within a few weeks of their assumption of office the dynamics of the war against terror changed. Boko Haram/ISWAP were soon on the run, giving up their acclaimed conquered territories and fleeing into the deep forest of Sambisa, where the remnants of them reside till date. Nigerians are witnesses to the agony and the massive humanitarian crisis that preceded the appointment of the current service chiefs.

All these gains were made mainly through the coordination and cooperation amongst the different units of the military headed by the service chiefs under the leadership of the chief of defense staff (CDS) General Abayomi Olonisakin . When  Olonisakin was appointed in 2015 he inherited over 13 military operations across the country. He immediately moved to restructure many of the operations strategically. Part of the restructuring lead to the establishment at the Defense headquarters of the “office of campaign planning, coordinating Centre for naval component, theatre Commander and deputy in operation “Lafiya Dole”. This helped to integrate the operation of the naval forces into the operations seamlessly.  He also created the theatre media office to better coordinate the operational activities of the armed forces.

Some may want to forget in a hurry some of what the military headed by General Olonisakin has achieved over the last five years. We at the Nigerian Christian youth assembly won’t forget in a hurry the days when insurgents over ran whole towns, whole local governments, operated even in the federal capital territory, times when we could hardly celebrate any festivity or holiday without deadly attacks from insurgents.

Many would have forgotten the many challenges from groups that terrorized us like the IMN, killer herdsmen attacks, IPOB etc. Through the coordinated leadership of Gen Olonishakin the military has been able to bring all of these security challenges under control. Many of these challenges emerging pre or during a general election year, yet the military stood firm even in areas where civil mediation and enforcements had failed to bring results.

We must understand that the task before the Nigeria military transcends the borders of Nigeria. Nigeria and its military remain a very crucial factor for the stability of the west African sub region. Gen Olonisakin as head of the military has continued to earn great respect in his engagement within the security circle of the sub region. Upon assuming leadership as the head of the ECOWAS committee of chiefs of defense staff moved to tackle the issue of proliferation of arm across the various countries within ECOWAS due to the porous borders, he was very clear about the need to tackle that in order to curb activities of terrorist within the region.

He has given good direction to different multinational operations that Nigeria is involved in. This multinational intervention has helped a great deal in the stabilization of our sub region and indeed our nation.

We should not forget the calm that the military has brought to the once restive Niger Delta region. Activities such as oil bunkering, oil theft, high sea piracy, illegal refining and a host of other criminal activities in that region has largely been stemmed by the military.

One of the amazing things going on now within the military is the synergy amongst the different components. The air force providing excellent air support for ground operations in operation Lafiya Dole in the north east. The Navy and the air force working together to make our territorial waters safe with fantastic cooperation in joint operations that has led to the many successes we are witnessing now.

Though we admit there are still some pockets of security challenges here and there what we should not lose sight of quickly is where we were coming from and where we are now. There is no doubt that since the emergence of the current set of service chiefs, there has been a lot of improvement in the security of the country.

This is why as a group we have come openly to declare that we reject the call for the sack of the service chiefs. We see this call as a disservice to the place of merit, hard work and professionalism displayed by General Olonisakin and his team.

We feel that the focus of the anti-service chief campaigners is no doubt targeted at Gen  Abayomi Olonisakin who is the head of the defense architecture. These mischief makers are embarking on the campaign as a way of displaying their total disdain for Christians in leadership positions across the country and we wish to strongly condemn it.

We use this opportunity to commend President Buhari for his matured and stable leadership. We laud the decision of Mr president who in his wisdom decided to extend the tenure of the service chiefs like he did other appointees such as the NSA, the CBN Governor, many ministers and several heads of government. It is clear that President Buhari appreciates the leadership of the service chiefs, who have actually given their best and are still doing their best.

It is clear that the anti service chief campaigners are against the doctrine of reward for merit and hardworking service to ones fatherland.

The trend world over is to keep the very best of your personnel for as long as they are able to serve. That is why you see in the case of judges their retirement age was moved further to 70 years, same goes for university lecturers who were also moved to 70 years of age .

We encourage Nigerians to emulate other countries where the very best of the country’s senior personnel are retained for as long as they are ready to serve, our case should not be any different .

We fear that sacking the service chiefs now will erode the gains of all the reforms being institutionalized in the country’s armed forces.

God Bless Our Military, God bless the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.

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