Security lapses responsible for attacks on 5 helicopters in Maiduguri- Jonathan

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan has disclosed that the recent attack by terorrists at Maiduguri airport which claimed five military helicopters was caused by security lapses.

He made these disclosure while commissioning the Air Force Comprehensive School in Yola, Adamawa State yesterday.

The President said that he has over the years noted that the new Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh has been a good manager of resources, adding that the recent sack of service chiefs was as a result of unhealthy rivalry amon the officers.

He warned the newly appointed service chiefs against embarking on unnecessary competition among themselves, urging them to work together and complement each other in the interest of the nation.

“We will work with them to make sure that we overcome these challenges. One of the reasons that made me to uplift the present chief of defence staff from the Chief of Air Staff is that I noted very carefully in terms of managing resources, he tried.

“And I believe that with him now taking charge as the Chief of Defence Staff, working with other men that have been properly briefed about how they conduct their work, I know that the Nigerian armed forces will be a different armed forces.

“I urge you to cooperate. Sometimes we use to hear some kind of mutual and individual competition among service chiefs and security personnel. But this time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that will bring retrogression to this country.

“We charge you to work together because our country is exposed to cancer and I told the former chief of defence staff when I came back from meeting in France, that was the time they attacked our five helicopters and a journalist ask me, Mr. President is it not shameful? And I asked him, If you were me, how will you have felt? And I believed we will no longer experience that kind of situation. That happened because of some obvious lapses.

“We will make sure we work with the National Assembly, we will work with the service chiefs and other senior military personnel, we will work with our traditional rulers and governors and senior citizens to see that we move our country to next level,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff, Badeh, said that the fight against insurgency is surmountable as he urged security agencies to remain focused.

He also pledged his loyalty to defend the nation in line with the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria.

According to him, the Air Force Comprehensive School project, which he said was the brainchild of the Air Force, was carried out on five hectares of land within a period of seven months through direct labour.

Governor Murtala Nyako, who was among the dignitaries that received the President at the airport, noted in the school that the insecurity situation in the stare has not allowed proper and befitting reception to be organization for the President.

The President later met with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders and party men in the state, where they pledged their support for him towards 2015 election.

Among the leaders included Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, James Ngiliri and  Prof. Jubril Aminu who took turn to thank President Jonathan for all the appointments that have come to the state.

They urged him to pay more attention to the state noting that it was trailing behind states like Gombe and Taraba in terms of some infrastructure.

In a related development, President Jonathan was later presented with two members of the House of Representatives, who announced their defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP.

The President, who noted that he was instrumental in the success of Governor Nyako, who is now with the APC,  during his election in 2011, said that he was overwhelmed by the turn out of party men in the state.

He also suggested the conduct of zonal rallies to be carried out before aspirants and candidates start emerging in order to reposition the party.

“We need to have zonal rallies before election. Before INEC open doors for people to start campaigns for offices, let us have neutral rallies now that we don’t have aspirants and candidates. We will have zonal rallies, and we will encourage states to also have state rallies then we will also have the national convention. We need to do that to re-energize our party”, he said.

The immediate past National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, Women Affairs Minister, Zainab Maina and some members of National Assembly were at the meeting.