President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed five new service chiefs and a new national security adviser (NSA).
The president announced the appointment of the new service chiefs after relieving the former service chiefs and the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) of their jobs.
The new NSA is Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd.) while the new service chiefs are: Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, chief of defence staff; Major-General T.Y. Buratai, chief of army staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff; Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff, and Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan, chief of defence intelligence.
A statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, noted that “the new service chiefs will hold their appointments in an acting capacity until confirmed by the Senate.”
Other appointments made by the president yesterday are: Mohammed Sarki Abba, senior special assistant, Household Affairs and Social Events; Sabiu Tunde Yusuf, personal assistant (PA); Dr Hajo Sani, senior special assistant, Administration, to wife of the president.
Although no reason was given for the sack of the former service chiefs and the NSA, LEADERSHIP gathered, however, that their dismissal may not be unconnected with the growing spate of attacks by the Boko Haram sect of late.
Adesina noted in the statement that President Buhari thanked the outgoing service chiefs and NSA for their services to the nation and wished them well in their future endeavours.
Profiling the new NSA and service chiefs, Adesina said, “Maj.-Gen. Monguno (retd.) was a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 21st Regular Course.
“Before his retirement from the Army, he held several command and staff appointments including: commander, Guards Brigade; deputy commandant, National Defence College; chief of Defence Intelligence, chief of Defence Logistics and commander, Training and Doctrine Command.”
For the new chief of defence staff, Maj.-Gen. Olonishakin (N/6901), Adesina said, until his appointment, Olonishakin who hails from Ekiti State, was the head of the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command in Minna, Niger State.
He also stated that the new chief of army staff, Maj.-Gen. Buratai, who hails from Borno State, was until his new appointment the commander of the Multinational Joint Task Force which has its headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad.
Maj-Gen Buratai had previously served as commander of the Nigerian Army’s 2nd Brigade in Port Harcourt and as commander of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry in Jaji, Kaduna State, he said.
Adesina noted that the new chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Ibas (NN/0746), who hails from Cross River State, had enlisted into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) as a member of the 26th Regular Course in 1979 and was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in 1983.
“His previous appointments include: naval provost marshal, chief staff officer, Naval Training Command; chief of administration, Naval Headquarters; flag officer commanding, Western Naval Command, and chief of logistics, Naval Headquarters. Until his appointment as chief of naval staff, he was the chief executive officer of Navy Holdings Ltd,” he stated.
The new chief of air staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Abubakar (NAF/1433), hails from Bauchi State.
His previous appointments include: chief of standards and evaluation, NAF Headquarters; chief of defence communications and air officer commanding, NAF Training Command. Until his new appointment today as CAS, he was the chief of administration, NAF Headquarters.
The service chiefs who were sacked are Alex Badeh, chief of defence staff; Kenneth Minimah, chief of army staff; Usman Jibrin, chief of naval staff and Adesola Amosu, chief of air staff.
They were appointed by former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, on January 16, 2014, to succeed their predecessors: Badeh replaced Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim; Minimah replaced Azubike Ihejirika; Jibrin replaced Joseph Ezeoba, while Amosu became chief of air staff following the appointment of Badeh as defence chief.
Although President Buhari had met with the sacked service chiefs three times since he assumed office on May 29, LEADERSHIP learnt that a committee had been secretly set up to map out modalities for a shake-up in the military since May.
The removal of the service chiefs, it was gathered, came suddenly yesterday following the president’s anger that the gory activities of the Boko Haram insurgents had escalated in the past one month.
“The terrorist group may have bounced back more fiercely because the former service chiefs became reluctant in their onslaught, perhaps as a result of the fact that they might soon be relieved of their jobs,” a presidency source told our correspondent.
Why they were sacked
Not a few security observers saw the above changes coming, especially since the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), have consistently condemned the failure of the military to tame the monster of terrorism under the watch of the last administration.
A former military officer, who did not want his name published, said: “The only surprise about the appointment of the new service chiefs is that it came later than expected. We all know that General Buhari was not happy with the way and manner the terrorists have been killing and maiming the people and what people were expecting was the immediate sack of the service chiefs on the day he was inaugurated, but that did not happen until today (yesterday). Buhari may have been biding his time in doing so.”
Interestingly, the inherited service chiefs, too, had been expecting the hammer. A personal aide to one of them had told our correspondent three weeks ago that his boss was ready to go but was waiting for the president to act.
He had said: “My principal and other service chiefs know that President Buhari will sack them but they are only waiting for him to do so in order to prevent a situation where they could be accused of walking out on him. We all know what he said about them during the campaign.
“He came and ordered them to relocate to Borno State. Have you ever heard the military top hierarchy relocating to the heart of the battle? Maybe this man wanted to humiliate them. Some of us are even thinking they would submit their papers but we were told it is not done that way.”
LEADRSHIP reports that since the emergence of President Buhari, there had been renewed onslaught by the deadly sect Boko Haram and no fewer than 500 innocent people have been killed by suicide bombers and gunmen in some states in the Northern part of the country. They include:
July 12 – two IEDs planted at ECWA Church, Jos, were uncovered but there was no casualty.
July 7 – A teenage suicide bomber killed 2-year-old, 25 others in Zaria.
July 5 – 52 persons killed in twin explosions in Jos, Plateau State. The police said the attacks were carried out by two female suicide bombers.
July 5 – Six persons killed in an explosion at a Redeemed Christian Church of God parish in Potiskum, Yobe State.
July 3 – 29 killed in Mussa Village in Askira-Uba LGA, Borno
July 2 – 11 killed at Malari Village along Bama/Konduga Highway, Borno
July 1 – 98 killed in Kukawa village, Borno
June 30 – 48 killed in Mussaram I and Mussaram II in Monguno LGA, Borno
June 27 – Five killed at Molai General Hospital, Borno State
June 23 – 20 killed in Debiro, Hawul LGA, Borno
June 23 – 15 killed in suicide attack in Gujba LGA, Borno
June 22 – Eight killed in twin bombings at the Baga fish market, Maiduguri
June 17 – 63 people died in Monguno after accidental explosion
June 15 – 11 persons killed in twin suicide bombings in Potiskum
June 11 – 37 killed as Boko Haram attacks Borno communities
June 7 – Three dead in suicide bombing on Baga/Monguno highway
June 5 – 40 dead in suicide attack on Jimeta Modern Market, Yola
June 4 – Two die in suicide bombing near military checkpoint in Maiduguri
June 3 – Four killed in Baga attack
June 2 – 50 killed in Maiduguri abattoir bombing
May 31 – Four killed at Gamboru market, Maiduguri
May 30 – 26 killed in Borno mosque explosion
May 30 – 13 killed in attempted attack on Maiduguri.
The presidential signal came last week.
A top security officer disclosed that the signal for the sack of the service chiefs was given when President Buhari was playing host last week to the BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group at the State House, where he condemned their failure to handle the rescue of the abducted 200 Chibok girls until it became too late.
The president had said: “It’s unfortunate that the security and federal government’s conflicting reports initially presented the government and its agencies in a very bad light both nationally and internationally because the law enforcement agencies and the government were conflicting each other sometimes within hours or within weeks. That is not very impressive. The delayed and late reaction by former government and its agencies was very unfortunate as I said”.
He recalled with nostalgia what the Nigerian military was noted for in the past and wondered what could have led to the current reversal of fortune.
“It is paradoxical what the Nigerian military had achieved from Burma to Zaire to Liberia to Sierra Leone to Sudan. But Nigeria is now to be helped by Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. How are the mighty fallen!
“We will do our best to restore the respectability of our country and its institutions.”
Although the new CDS is said to be full of experience having held several key posts in the military within and outside the country, yet some security observers are of the opinion that his appointment might be a way of appeasing the Yoruba race which felt cheated from the appointments that had been made so far.
Of all the appointments made, none hails from the North West where the President comes from or from the North Central where the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, hails from.
However, the North East, where the Speaker hails from, also has the lion share as three of the five new appointees come from the region: chief of air staff, chief of army staff and the NSA.
I Didn’t Know Any Of The New Service Chiefs – PMB
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that he did not know the new service chiefs before appointing them to the defence top jobs, hinting that they selected on merit.
He, however, implored them to assist him in rebuilding the reputation of the Armed Forces and that of the country.
Buhari, who addressed the service chiefs shortly after their appointments were announced, assured them that he would send their nominations to the National Assembly either yesterday (Monday) or today (Tuesday) for confirmation.
According to a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the president urged them to exhibit “utmost commitment to their new duties.”
Shehu quoted Buhari as saying: “All of you, including the national security adviser, were chosen on merit. Your records gave you the job. Save for the new chief of army staff whom I briefly met at his command at the Multi-National Joint Task Force, in Chad, I don’t know any of you.
“Your records recommended you. Legally, you are in acting capacity until the National Assembly accepts you. It is only then that you will take the oath of office. Thereafter, we will sit down and talk in more detail.”
How Buhari Sacked Minimah At COAS Conference
Ironically, the immediate past army chief, Lt Gen Kenneth Minimah, was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari purportedly for the failure to arrest the menace of suicide bombings and killings by Boko Haram while presiding over a conference where he was searching for solutions.
Minimah was presiding over the Chief of Army Staff Quarterly Conference which began yesterday in Abuja when he was summoned by President Buhari to the State House where he met his colleagues.
They waited few minutes for the commander-in-chief. When he came out to meet them, he thanked them for their services to the fatherland, and said: “You have been relieved of your appointments.”
According to a security source, unlike what transpired in the past, they were not told of their successors by the president which left them guessing until it was announced in the media.
On returning to the COAS Conference, he was said not to have betrayed emotion as he presided over the remaining meeting which had in attendance his successor, Major General Buratai and the new chief of defence staff, Major General Olonisakin.
“Immediately the programme was over, General Minimah just asked us to be listening to our radio and other means of gathering news. We were also asked to be punctual tomorrow for the continuation of the conference. It was when we came out of the hall that we began receiving telephone calls about the new development,” the source disclosed.
Minimah was said to have been telling close associates that he was ready to go at any time, noting that he was the 18th army chief and would not be the last.
Culled from http://leadership.ng/news/446761/pmb-replaces-nsa-service-chiefs