The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) yesterday asked the National Assembly to look into alleged acts of insubordination by Service Chiefs to the newly sworn-in Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau.
Deputy Leader of the NEF, Dr. Paul Unongo told reporters in Abuja that the alleged insubordination, if true, was a dangerous development.
Unongo said: “It is not done in the Armed Forces. It dents the credibility of the minister. If they refuse to appear before him, what right has he to oversee the entire Defence Forces?
“Disrespect is not tolerated in the Armed Forces. If he resigned, I support him. If he did not resign, what happened? I heard Mr. President pleaded with him to withdraw his resignation letter.
“This is a serious issue that the National Assembly should investigate because it is an attack on our democracy. This is a very serious thing in a democratic set-up.
“When such a thing happened in the United States, the Head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces was dismissed. The President is allowed to choose anybody whom he feels can do the job.
“This kind of thing should never be tolerated. Such officers should be flushed out of the system because if they are not flushed out, it is dangerous for our democracy”.
Unongo, who was a second Republic Minister of Steel Development, expressed the hope that President Jonathan “will take note of the grave implications inherent in the drama of his Armed Forces refusing to carry out instructions of civilian cabinet ministers appointed to oversee their various departments”.
He added: “To oversee these functions, Mr. President invites cabinet ministers to assist him run the departments and the military is a department.
“These heads of the Armed Forces, according to the Constitution, unless they have changed it, are directly under a director within the Ministry of Defence.
“This is a man that has been a General for over 20 years with the Nigerian Armed Forces. This is a person that became the Chief Spy; his nickname is the Chief Spy of the Nigerian Federation.
“This is a man that all governments, including this present administration, tap his knowledge and I know this person and how long the Government of President Jonathan tried to get him to accept this position of Minister of Defence”.