Nigerian President Buhari Replaces Top Military Chiefs in Sudden Reshuffle
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
By Mohammed Momoh
West Africa Correspondent
Nation Media Group
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday replaced the country's top military commanders, his office said, after months of pressure over his response to worsening security.
The officials tendered their resignation letters to President Buhari, who immediately announced their replacement.
The officials include, Chief of Defence Staff General Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The new appointees include Major-General Leo Irabor who will be Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General I. Attahiru who will be Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo who will be Chief of Naval Staff and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao who was appointed as the new Chief of Air Staff.
The Inspector General of Police Mohammed Bello remains in office and he is set to retire from service in February.
Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) said in Abuja that President Buhari was appreciative of the services of outgoing service chiefs.
Buhari described their service as “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,” wishing them well in their future endeavours.
But many Nigerians, particularly the opposition, disagree with Buhari on the performance of the generals.
Buhari said the service chiefs deserved credit for the return of peace and to north east region where no fewer than 36,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram declared war against the nation in 2009.
The President argued that the military had been able retrieve territories from insurgents assuring the nation that no single territory is under the insurgents since the service chiefs took command.
But opposition argued that there had been increase in crime, especially in kidnapping, banditry, and increase in attacks by insurgents.
The Senate late December 2020 renewed its call for immediate initiate to phase out the current Service Chiefs and replace them with new ones with fresh ideas and solutions.
This was one of the many resolutions that the lawmakers adopted in a nearly hour-long deliberation on insecurity across the country and the recent killing of 43 farmers in Borno State.
The call was the third time that the Senate will ask the president to sack the Service Chiefs who they said are bereft of new ideas to tackle insurgency.
In January, they called for the sack the service chiefs. A similar call was made in July. The resolutions on both occasions were borne from debates on insecurity.
The military on January 10, 2020 re-jigged all commands, and redeployment of field commander to give a spark to structure and defence of the nation.
The Nigerian Army Headquarters approved the redeployment of senior officers across military formations, including Major Generals, Brigadier-Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Majors, and Captains.
The army spokesman, Brigadier-General Sagir Musa, said the postings, which were approved by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, was to reinvigorate the system for greater performance and effectiveness as promised by Buhari in his New Year message.