SIX DAYS AFTER THE TRAGIC DEATH of Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, in an Airforce plan crash, last Friday, while on official trip to Nigeria’s northwest Kaduna State, President Buhari, on Thursday, appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya, to lead the Nigerian Army as the new Chief of Army Staff.  He was General Officer, Commanding 1 Division of Nigerian Army; and incumbent Theater Commander of the military counter-terrorism unit in the northeast before his appointment.

As he takes charge of the Nigerian Army, he is faced with the challenge of escalating insecurity in the country, with focus on the battle against insurgent Boko Haram and its ally, the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP. Major General Yahaya will, also, take-on the monstrous armed bandits, who have been terrorizing Nigeria’s northwest – kidnapping for ransom, killing and raping innocent citizens – men, women and children.   

President Buhari, while mourning late Ibrahim Attahiru, described his death as a “mortal blow” at a time, he said the “armed forces was poised to end the security challenges facing the country”.  He appointed Attahiru Chief Army of Staff, along with other Service Chiefs in January, 2021, after the resignation of the former Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.

At their appointment, Buhari’s Media Adviser, Fami Adesina tweeted: “PMB appoints new Service Chiefs. Maj Gen LEO Irabor, CDS, Maj Gen I Attahiru, Army, Rear Adm AZ Gambo, Navy, AVM IO Alao, Air Force. He congratulates outgoing Service Chiefs on efforts to bring enduring peace to the country.”


Irabor replaced former Defense Chief Abayomi Olonisakin; Attahiru replaced Tukur Buratai, as Army Chief; Gambo replaced Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, as Navy Chief; while Alao took over from Sadique Abubakar, as Air Chief.

The former Service Chiefs were appointed in 2015, when Buhari’s took his first oath of office as President.  He kept the service chief into his second tenure in 2019, till there removed them in January 2021 – about six years, altogether. 

There were national outcries for the removal of the former services – including calls from Nigeria’s Lawmakers – the Senate and House of Representatives, and eminent Nigerians; at a time when national insecurity threatened the foundation of the nation.

President Buhari, eventually, succumbed to pressure, and showed the former service chiefs the way out.  But not without eulogizing them for what he described as “overwhelming achievements” of the service chiefs “in our efforts to bringing enduring peace to our dear country”; and immediately, compensated them with ambassadorial appointments.

The president’s flowering remarks about the performance of former service chiefs, and their reward with ambassadorial appointments – attracted widespread criticism and condemnation.