Published On: Tue, Jan 21st, 2014

Chief Of Naval Staff Weeps At Handing Over

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Former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba

LAGOS JANUARY 21ST (URHOBOTODAY)-The Defence Headquarters was a beehive of activities on Monday as the newly appointed service chiefs received the mantle of leadership from the out-going ones in succession, starting with the Air Force, the Army, the Navy and the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex S. Badeh, who also took over from the outgoing CDS, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim.
During the handover ceremony at the Naval Headquarters, former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba broke down while reading his long handover note in an emotion laden voice to the new Navy Chief, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin and the audience at the conference hall.
He listed a chain of achievements under his administration and urged the new navy chief to continue with the legacies and to help actualize the challenge of making the Nigerian Navy the best in Africa.
Vice Admiral Ezeoba pointed out that so-far the Navy has been transformed and has emerged as the most courted beautiful bride in Africa, saying many countries in Africa are seeking partnership and collaboration with the Nigerian Navy.
The military ceremonies, which preceded the handovers, included display of flags, exchange of decorative articles and signing of handover notes by the in-coming and out-going officers.
Meanwhile, five Army Generals who are seniors to Major General Kenneth Minimah, the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), have put in their letters of voluntary retirement, following the recent appointment of their junior.
This disclosure was made yesterday in Abuja by the immediate past COAS, Lt.General Azubuike Ihejirika, while handing over to his successor, thereby laying to rest speculations making the rounds that about 20 or 50 officers, senior in rank to the new COAS, have been forced to retire over the appointment.
According to General Ihejirika, “As at the time of the changes, only five officers were senior to the new COAS and they have submitted their letters of voluntary retirement to encourage the COAS concentrate on his assignment.”
Speaking further, the former Army Chief urged Nigerians to appreciate the extreme sacrifice that soldiers have been making to keep the country peaceful, united and conducive for the population to live and transact business.
He said each day of a soldier’s life in the frontline is full of uncertainties and such unpredictable dangers that average Nigerians would not like to experience in their lifetimes.
Ihejirika, who was appointed chief of army staff on September 8th, 2010 and relieved of the post on January 16, 2014, remarked that there are soldiers in the northeast who do not eat normal meals for a day or two because the terrains where they operate each day, in the war against terrorism, are just too dangerous for them to relax their guard or look for food.
He regretted that the sacrifice to maintain peace in the country and unite the nation has not been sufficiently appreciated by some Nigerians whom he said are making reckless statements and wild allegations that tended to overheat the polity and dampen the moral of soldiers in the battle field.
He added that “despite what people say about our performance, no responsible chief of army staff will encourage or order soldiers to violate the human rights of the civilian population or commit unethical abuses which are not part of the rules of military engagement.”
He said: “Nigerians should think deeply about their actions and comments that are meant to discourage the Armed Forces from properly doing their work. The military deserves every ounce of encouragement it can get to enable it effectively carry out its constitutionally assigned duties”.
Source: CKN

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