Service chiefs replacement: 20 generals may go

By Ugbede Usman

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The removal and replacement of service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, could make about 20 Generals in the Nigerian Army who are members of courses 34 and 35 to resign from service.

Buhari thorough a statement issued by his Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘President Buhari appoints new service chiefs,’
appointed a new Chief of Defence Staff in person of Major-General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Major-General I. Attahiru; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air-Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao.

The new appointment triggered the information obtained through an officer in the army that about 20 generals in regiment courses 34 and 35 may go on retirement. 35 is the regiment of Attahiru while Irabor is of 34.

The appointment message reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the service chiefs, and their retirement from service.

“Those involved are the 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.

“President Buhari thanks the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their ‘overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,’ wishing them well in their future endeavours.

“The new service chiefs are: Major-General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.

“The President congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.”

In an information obtained by the media through an officer who doesn’t want his name mention, Lt. Gen. Lamidi Aeosun, the Chief of Training and Operations, Army headquarters who was promoted in 2019 to the same rank as Buratai by Buhari, is among those who may be forced to retire.

The source revealed that while many of the senior officer may proceed to retire, their years of service could be extended in order for the new Chief of Staff to tap into their experiences. He however added that some of them might be posted to the forces headquarters where they will not be working directly under the new chief of staff.

He said, “We have the death of officers with experience in Liberia and Sierra Leone wars because it takes gut to fight these boys (insurgents). They use the same tactics we fought against in Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is not automatic that members of Course 34 and 35 would retire.

“Course 33 has gone, we have 34 and 35. Irabor is Course 34. Attahiru is course 35. About 20 generals in course 34 and 35 may go, but the COAS may retain some of them. He would use his discretion. He would want his course mates to be around him. Some may be posted to the defence headquarters.”
It was also learnt that the relationship between Buratai and Attahiru is frosty.

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