A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (retd.), has been named Ambassador to the Benin Republic.
A former Defence Chief, Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (retd.), was named the Head of Mission to Cameroon.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, according to a statement by the Information Officer in the ministry, Kimiebi Ebienfa, presented letters of credence to the ex-service chiefs, during a brief ceremony in Abuja.
He said, “The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama today, June 22, 2021, presented Letters of Credence to the Ambassador-Designate of Nigeria to the Republic of Cameroon, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (retd.), and the Ambassador-Designate of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (Retd.).
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs during the brief ceremony congratulated the immediate-past service chiefs on their appointment by Mr. President and called on them to deploy their wealth of experience to promote Nigeria’s interest during their tour of duty in countries of accreditation.”
The statement was, however, silent on the posting of the other former service chiefs – former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok- Ette Ibas (retd), ex-Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.); and former Chief of Defense Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Usman (retd.).
President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 4, 2021, appointed the ex-service chiefs as non-career Ambassadors.
The President appointed the ex-service chiefs in 2015 and refused to bow to the pressure to relieve them of their duties until they “voluntarily resigned”.
Before their “retirement” there were widespread calls for their removal over failure to contain insecurity.
Their appointment as Nigeria’s ambassadors to foreign countries sparked public outrage, with calls on the Senate to reject their nominations.
Despite the outrage, the Senate, on February 23, 2021, confirmed their nominations.