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Boko Haram: Jonathan fires Azazi, defence minister

Boko Haram: Jonathan fires Azazi, defence minister

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday sacked the Defence Minister, Dr. Haliru Bello; and the National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi.

The decision to sack the two former government officials over the growing level of insecurity in the country was taken less than two hours after the President returned from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he attended the just-concluded United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development.

Azazi, whose tenure has been characterised by increase in violent attacks by the fundamental Islamic sect, Boko Haram, would be replaced by Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel of the Nigerian Army.

Dasuki is said to be a former ADC to former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. 

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, confirmed the development in a telephone interview with our correspondent, but refused to give further details.

Shortly before the removal, Jonathan had engaged security chiefs in a marathon meeting over the continued insecurity in the northern part of the country.

He was reported to have told the security chiefs to do all within their power to stop the killings and bombings in the country.

Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (retd.), had told State House correspondents after the meeting that it was a routine security meeting with the President.

He said, “He (Jonathan) particularly didn’t feel too well about the loss of lives. He said we needed to do something proactively to stop it at all costs.

“It is a usual security meeting with the C-in-C to look at things in a comprehensive manner and see how the security agencies are fairing.

“It was a useful discussion on certain areas where we had problems, how to tackle them, how the security agencies can be more effective and the role the populace has to play in assisting in the war against terror.

“We had to reappraise the measures we have been taking before now and look at how the populace can be carried along to get more information so that peace can return to the land. We do not really have to kill Nigerians to sustain peace.

“The C-in-C believes that we need to talk and do what is right to ensure that we calm the nerves and make sure that these incessant bombings are minimised. It is a source of worry to all.”

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