The Presidency says the appointment of service chiefs is not by ethnicity but by their ability to secure lives and property in the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who stated this on Monday, was reacting to calls by interest groups in the country for an Inspector General of Police of South-Eastern extraction.
The calls heighten as the present IGP, Abubakar Adamu, is expected to leave the office on Monday, having reached the mandatory retirement age.
There were also similar demands last week when the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), appointed four new service chiefs –Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff (Delta State); Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff (Kaduna State); Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff (Kano State); and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff (Osun State).
But Shehu said the President was fair in his recent appointment of service chiefs by making two appointments each from the South and the North.
The Presidential spokesman spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH.
He said, “The language that is being used is that there should be an Igbo service chief and this is a country with more than 250 ethnic groups. If you are going to appoint a service chief from every ethnic group in this country, you are going to have more than 250 Inspector General of Police, 250 Chief of Army Staff, 250 Chief of Naval Staff. Things are not going to work like that.
“If we said that we are going to use ethnicity or religion as the basis, then, we have lost it. This is about law and order and not about ethnic identity.
“Look at what happened with the service chiefs appointed now – two from the South, two from the North. If you are talking about religion, two Muslims, two Christians.”
On the decision to be taken on Adamu who reached the retirement age today, Shehu said, “I haven’t spoken with the President but if I read his mind correctly, the President would rather have an Inspector General of Police who would make you and I safer, who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.
He said the President would decide on the fate of Adamu when he returns to Aso Villa from Daura, Katsina State later this week.