The rumours, published on a number of blogs, said that the chief of defence staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin and chief of the naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas had been fired by the defence minister, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali and ordered to go on compulsory leave.
In an e-mailed statement to The Trent on Monday, December 12, 2016 signed by Colonel Tukur Gusau, a spokesperson for the minister of defence, the ministry denied the reports and said that the minister of defence had no such powers.
The full press statement is published below:
RE: BUHARI DROPS TWO SERVICE CHIEFS
The attention of the Honourable Minister of Defence Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali was drawn to some online publications claiming that he has sent letters to the Chief of Defence Staff General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin and Chief of the Naval staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas directing them to hand over their offices on or before friday, 16 december.
Please be informed that there was no such communication between the office of the Honourable Minister of Defence and the service chiefs directing any one of them to hand over his office and proceed on retirement. The appointment and replacement of service chiefs is a prerogative responsibility of the office of the President and Commander in Chief.
Please endeavour to always balance your stories from the right sources to avoid mischief.
You are requested to kindly disseminate to the general public.
Colonel Tukur Gusau
Public Relations officer
to the Hon Minister of Defence.