Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday effected major changes in the country's military high command, firing the nation's top military officer as well as two of the three service chiefs. Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, who announced the changes in a statement made available to PANA here, said it was 'in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria'.
According to the changes, former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh takes over from Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), while Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah takes over from Lt.-Gen. Azubuike O. Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff.
Also, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin takes over from Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba as Chief of Naval Staff, while Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu replaces Air Marshal Badeh as Chief of Air Staff.
The new CDS, Air Marshal Badeh, 57, joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 21 Regular Course while the new Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Minimah, 54, joined the Army as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 25 Regular Course.
Until his new appointment, Maj.-Gen. Minimah was the Commander of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Jaji.
The new Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Jibrin, 54, joined the Navy as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 24 Regular Course. Until his appointment, he was Director of Training at Defence Headquarters.
The new Chief of Air Staff and immediate past Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Vice Marshal Amosu, 53, joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 25 Regular Course. Until his new appointment, Air Vice Marshal Amosu was the Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command, Makurdi.
The statement said President Jonathan has briefed the leadership of the National Assembly on the appointment of the new service chiefs and will, in keeping with the provisions of the law, request the National Assembly to formally confirm the appointments when it reconvenes.
PANA reports that no reasons were given for the sack, which comes two days after a suicide bomber killed at least 43 people in the northern city of Maiduguri, and follows some deadly attacks on military facilities, including military planes, also in the north, where the Islamic sect Boko Haram has been wreaking havoc.
Last year, President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northern states worst hit by the terrorist attacks being perpetrated by Boko Haram, which launched its violent campaign in 2009.
The declaration was followed with a massive deployment of troops to the states (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe) to battle the terrorists.
While the military said it had recorded some successes against the sect, it (sect) has retained the ability to carry out deadly attacks.