Presidency Yet To Name New Army Chief As Likely Successors Emerge

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The Presidency is yet to name a replacement for the late Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru and other military officers in a plane crash 24 hours after their death.

President Muhammadu Buhari, at the burial of the fallen officers and men on Saturday, said Lieutenant General Attahiru was an epitome of gallantry and bravery which culminated in his being appointed the chief of army staff.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), praised Attahiru for his gallantry in the war against insurgency and described him as a military chief, who led from the front and emulated by others.

The President said he would be remembered for his landmark contributions to the unity of the nation as he expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the departed officers and men and all Nigerians.

According to a security news platform, PRNigeria said unconfirmed reports on Saturday claimed that Major General Danjuma Ali-Keffi, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of Nigerian Army, Kaduna, may be appointed.

However, the security news platform gathered that General Keffi from Nasarawa State was not among the most senior military officers in the operation of the Nigerian Army. In fact, he has more than 30 senior major generals above him in seniority.

“The consequence of this if it is true, is that it will force these brilliant officers to retire at a period we need more hands in the prosecution of diverse operations across the country. I don’t think we need such mass retirement now,” a security expert opined.

However, a top military officer told the security news platform that several factors are considered for the appointment of service chiefs beyond seniority.

“You know the President has the discretion to appoint anyone he so wishes with advice or probably a nomination from the Minister of Defence.

“Apart from Seniority in service, officers so considered must have been grounded in military operations and intelligence.

Some of the most senior and experienced military officers, the news platform learnt, include the current Chief of Policy and Plan, Major General Ben Ahanotu of Regular Course 35 from Anambra State. He was the Commander of the Military Operation that captured the founder of Boko Haram Mohammed Yusuf and his followers at their hideout in Maiduguri in 2009 before handing them over to the Police.

Major General AM Aliyu of Regular Course 36 from Gombe State is another operation officer. He is the Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army and former Director Foreign Liaison at the Defence Intelligence Agency. He was responsible for processing actionable intelligence for military operations.

Another officer is Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf of Regular Course 37 from Yobe State. He is Chief of Operation and former Force Commander Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF). He was also a former Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole with rich experience in the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North East and have also taught in many military colleges including Nigerian Defence College (NDC), Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), and Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre (NAPKC), Jaji.

Major General Faruk Yahaya of Regular Course 37 from Zamfara State. He is the current Theatre Commander Operation in the North-East and former General Officer Commanding Officer of the First Division of the Nigerian Army.

The news platform further gathered that there are other senior operational officers worthy of considerations.

Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and the other military officers died in a plane crash on Friday on an official visit to the northern state of Kaduna including the Chief of Military Intelligence, Brig-Gen. Kuliya; and Provost Marshall, Brig-Gen. Olayinka.