The president’s spokesperson said such reports were false
President Goodluck Jonathan has denied media reports that he fired former service chiefs because of “unhealthy competition”.
A statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said the report was mischievous and that the President did not at anytime during his remarks in Yola say that the former chiefs were guilty of undue rivalry.
Mr. Jonathan was quoted by Vanguard Newspapers as saying in Yola that “I urge you all to cooperate because in recent times some mutual cooperation among the service chiefs and personnel have been lacking. This time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that would be retrogressive to this country.
“We charge you to work together and I believe that we would no longer experience any unpleasant situation we had in the past because of some obvious lapses,”
Mr. Abati, however, claims the media was being sensational when it reported that Mr. Jonathan said he sacked the service chiefs because of unhealthy rivalry.
Read Mr. Abati’s statement below
“Reports in the media yesterday which claimed that President Jonathan said during his visit to Yola on Tuesday that he “fired” former service chiefs because of “unhealthy competition” amongst them are untrue and misleading.
“It appears that for reasons of mischief and reckless sensationalism, a section of the media deliberately chose to misrepresent the President’s innocuous and clear call for greater synergy and inter-service cooperation in the war against terrorism.
“President Jonathan did not at anytime during his remarks in Yola say that the former chiefs were guilty of undue rivalry, nor did he say, as claimed by some newspapers, that such unhealthy rivalry was responsible for recent security breaches in Adamawa and other parts of the country.
“As Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces and Chief Security Officer of the Federation, President Jonathan is fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of all defence and security-related matters. If he had any reprimand or admonition for the former service chiefs, which he does not, he would not have cavalierly given it at a public function as the media falsely reported.
“The President has nothing but praise for the manner in which the outgoing service chiefs did their job in very challenging circumstances and he did not in the course of his remarks in Yola suggest or imply that any wrongdoing, lack of cooperation or unhealthy competition was reason for the recent changes in the Military High Command.
“Members of the Armed Forces and all objective observers know that such changes are routine and in the interest of the growth and well-being of the Armed Services.
“President Jonathan has no need therefore to justify the recent changes to anyone and the recourse by the media to a totally off-the-mark interpretation of his remarks in Yola to explain the changes was most unnecessary and pointless”.