The Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi-Magashi has defended the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
According to the Minister, Buhari didn’t consider ethnic or religious factors but only national interest in choosing the new Army chief.
President Buhari on Thursday appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff to replace the late Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a military plane crash in Kaduna last week.
He resumed duties on Friday at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
The appointment of a northern Muslim by the President has attracted various reactions and criticisms from some section of the public.
However, Magashi in a statement on Friday by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mohammad Abdulkadri, said President Buhari had put “national interest above ethnic and religious chauvinism”.
The Minister described Yahaya as the right person for the job and expressed confidence in the ability of the new Chief of Staff to deliver.
He said Yahaya is a professional soldier with a track record of competence and successes behind him who is also familiar with the fight against insurgency.
“The Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) has commended the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for the well thought out Strategic appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya, the 22nd Chief of Army Staff as replacement for the late Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a plane crash alongside ten others last Friday in Kaduna.
“The appointment of General Yahaya, President Buhari has expediently put national interest above ethnic and religious chauvinism by fulfilling all requirements necessary.
“These include his unblemished track records of service, Professional, Command and Operational competences among other yardsticks that culminated into his emergence as most suitably qualified new Army boss.
“The Defence Minister expressed optimism in the professional pedigree of the former theatre Commander Operation “Hadin Kai” General Yahaya in sustaining the trajectory of taking offensive and aggressive campaigns to the camps, corridors and cells of the adversaries with a view to obliterating them.
“As a battle Commander with remarkable exploits and considerable experience, exposure and expertise he will be committed to the new battle plans and philosophy of Jointness among Services and other security agencies in combat which are some of the legacies of his predecessor.
“While pledging the support of the Ministry of Defence under his watch to the new Army boss in carrying out his mandate, the minister said plans are in the pipeline by the Federal Government to immortalise late General Attahiru and others who died in the plane crash.
“This according to him is aimed at immortalising them and to ensure that their sacrifices as national heroes in keeping the nation safe and secured are not in vain.”
Meanwhile, Bello Shagari, the grandson of the late former President Shehu Shagari, has taken to social media to say that Sharia should not be condemned in its totality.
Shagari in a long thread of post on Friday morning on his verified Twitter account stated categorically that Nigeria as a country is not an Islamic State and will never be.
The former President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria said though he had always defended Sharia itself as a religious instruction to Muslims, he never advocated for Sharia in Nigeria.