President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, explained why he retained the Chief of Army Staff, Leutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, and said that it was in recognition of his notable attributes of patriotism, excellence, loyalty, dedication, courage and unwavering faith in Nigeria.
Justifying the retention of Ihejirika, and appointment of the new service chiefs, Jonathan said: “For each of them these ideals have marked their individual distinguished careers in the Armed Forces. These fine officers and gentlemen are taking up command at a time when our nation is faced with serious challenges.
“Given their inspiring antecedent, however, and working in synergy with other security services, I am confident that they will bring fresh impetus into the new security architecture to combat the menace of terrorism in all its ramifications, across the length and breadth of Nigeria”.
Speaking when he decorated the new Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim with the rank of Admiral at the presidential villa, Abuja, the president noted that his government could not allow threats to National Security to compromise its National transformation effort, and added that “we shall proactively prosecute the fight against terrorism with total commitment and effectively check the activities of all criminal elements in our dear land”.
Other service chiefs decorated with their new ranks were the newly appointed Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Dele Ezeoba who is now Vice Admiral and Air Vice Marshal Alex Bade who is now Air Marshal.
Jonathan had, last Thursday, effected changes in the military high command with the appointment of new service chiefs and promotion of Ibrahim to the rank of Chief of Defence Staff.
While decorating them with their ranks yesterday, the president assured of his administration’s commitment to provide them with the necessary support to ensure an optimal operational readiness of the country’s armed forces.
Tasking them on crude oil theft and terrorism, Jonathan said, “I will like to use this forum to specially charge you to rise to the many security challenges confronting our nation today. More specifically the Chief of Naval Staff along with his officers and men have the singular responsibility of up scaling security in our territorial waters.