The military chiefs asked for adequate funding of the military.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday swore-in the new heads of Nigeria’s military. He charged them not to disappoint Nigerians in the fight against terrorism in the country.
The Senate had last week confirmed the new service chiefs despite the directive from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) on its members in the upper chamber to resist the screening until the political crisis in Rivers State is resolved by the federal government.
The service chiefs confirmed by the Senate are the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh; Chief of Army Staff, Major General Kenneth Minimah; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu.
The President, who said he was not sure whether to sympathise with them or congratulate them, urged them to work with other security and intelligence agencies to ensure that peace returns to the troubled zones in the country.
“I don’t know whether I will congratulate you or I will sympathise with you because of the circumstances of the moment.
“That reminds me, when I was in secondary school I read one article written by late Dr Tai Solarin and there is one clause he said ‘I wish you what I wish myself every year. May you have enough time this year’. So I think I will wish you what I wish myself every year and may we have enough time this period . Because none of us will sleep till the Nigerians in Borno state can sleep.
“That is why I say today is not a moment for major statements. We will be having very fine talks from time to time, but definitely Nigerians will tell you what they expect from us, we must not fail this country and I believe this team will work together to be assisted by other intelligence services because the war against terror must be won in this country,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan said he had worked with some of the new service chiefs in the past and “I am convinced that we selected the right team to salvage this country at this time”.
“You must not disappoint Nigerians,” he told them.
He also congratulated the wives of the new military chiefs.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the Chief of Defence Staff thanked the President for the opportunity given to them to serve Nigeria.
He commended the president for sending their names to the National Assembly for confirmation, the first time since the return of democracy in 1999.
Mr. Barde urged the president to continue to finance the military adequately.
He said the military will not leave any stone unturned in making sure that peace returns to the North East, so that Nigerians in that region will participate in the 2015 elections.