ABUJA – A group under the aegis, The Nigeria Security Watch Forum Sunday asked the Minister of Defence, Genersl Mohammed Gusau to resign his position against the backdrop that he was not in any way bigger than President Goodluck Jonathan and the laws of the land, just as it alleged that his men were responsible for last week’s story of purported resignation.
Rising from a crucial meeting at the weekend, the forum noted that the aspect that President Goodluck Jonathan “begged” him (Gusau) to withdraw his letter of resignation was particularly planted by Gusau’s men.
In a communiqué signed by its President, Mr Abubakar Danbaki at the end of the Forum’s meeting, it noted that base on the information at the disposal of their members, it was clear that the story of the purported resignation was “planted” in the media by aides of General Gusau to achieve set interest, adding, “Without mincing words, the purpose of the sponsored story was to influence and possibly force the President into making a decision between Gusau, the Chief of Defence Staff and the three Service Chiefs.
“This in our view our view was a cheap blackmail that obviously back fired and fell flat on its surface owing to the fact that as watchers and keen observers of the security sector, we know as a matter of fact that General Gusau wants the CDS and the Service Chiefs to report directly to him.
“Gusau wants to control all the security apparatus including the office of the National Security Adviser without an enabling legislation. The question is to what level of control does he want and to what extent? Is it to award contracts or to determine military postings? We know as a fact that when General Abdulrhaman Danbazu was the Chief of Army Staff, nobody asked to vet his appointments. Why then must General Gusau want to vet the appointments made by the Chief of Army Staff, when he has been fair and just in his appointments?”
According to the Forum, it was clear that General Gusua came to the Ministry of Defence with a biased, preconceived and premeditated mind adding that this was the real reason he wanted to control the Army at all cost in order to appointments in favour of some States without consideration for professionalism, adding, “The appointment of the Chief of Army Staff is strictly based on competence and if it wasn’t, the National Assembly would have rejected it. The truth is General Guasu did not resign but only wrote to the President reporting the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs of refusing to report to him which is contrary to the Armed Forces law and the National Defence Policy.
“The Armed forces Act of 1993 as amended in the 1999 Constitution clearly states that the Chief of Defence Staff shall subject to the general direction of the President and of the National Assembly, be vested with the day to day command and general superintendence of the Armed Forces.
“And the National Defence Policy equally states the organisation of the Ministry of Defence in relation to political control. For instance, the Minister of Defence is the political head of the Ministry of Defence which is composed of the civil and military components. He has two principal advisers: The Principal Secretary, who is a career Civil Servant and the Chief of Defence Staff.
“Acting through the CDS, the Minister of Defence formulates and implements the Defence policy and provides policy direction for the Armed Forces and participates in government’s wider policy making process. This is the law until and unless the National Assembly effects an amendment.
“What we find insulting is the story that President Jonathan drove to Gusau’s house to beg him. Why is General Gusau painting himself as indispensable? What an insult on the office and person of Mr. President. General Gusau must apologise to President Jonathan for this insult.
The Forum therefore urged the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs to adhere strictly to the provisions of the law viz the constitution and the National Defence policy and not to the whims and caprices of individuals with hidden agenda.