Theatre Commander Maj.-Gen. Yahaya is army chief

Theatre Commander of the Counter Insurgency Operation in the Northeast Maj. Gen. Farouk Yahaya was yesterday appointed Chief of Army Staff by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He replaced Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, who died on May 21 with others in a plane crash.

Gen. Yahaya’s appointment was announced in a terse statement by Acting  Defence Information Director  Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu.

The statement reads: “The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  President  Mohammadu Buhari, has appointed Maj.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.

“Prior to his appointment, Maj.-Gen. Yahaya was the general officer commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the incumbent Theatre Commander of the Counterterrorism, Counter Insurgency military outfit in the Northeast code-named Operation Hadin Kai.”

With his appointment, some majors-general who are his seniors may be forced out of service. The senior generals are members of Regular Course 35 and 36.

Gen. Yahya belongs to the 37 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

He was born on January 5, 1966 in Sifawa, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto State. He started his cadet training September 27, 1985, and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on September 22, 1990.

He has held several appointments, including Staff, Instructional and Command.

Notable among the positions  are Garrison Commander, Headquarter Guards Brigade;  Director  of Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC);  Deputy Director, Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary;   Deputy Director, Army Research and Development and  Chief of Staff, Headquarters Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield.

He also served as the Commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade and 29 Task Force Brigade (Operation Zaman Lafiya)   Director, Manpower at the Army headquarters and Military Secretary, Army headquarters

The new COAS is a holder of several honours and awards, including Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star and Grand Service Star.

A military source, who spoke on the implications of Gen. Yahaya’s appointment, said the Maj.-Generals who are Yahaya’s senior might be asked to turn in their papers for ease of administration or posted out to head tri-service institutions.

He said: “There is going to be a serious shake-up, especially in the Army, with the appointment of the new COAS. The Military Council may ask members of Course 35 and 36 to quit or they can also be redeployed to head tri-service institutions. Most of them will certainly go.”

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has  asked the COAS to, among others, ensure inter-agency collaboration in tackling the lingering security challenges in the country and consolidate the successes so far recorded by the military.

The party’s advice was contained in a statement by the Secretary of its   Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator John James Akpanduoehehe.

The statement partly reads: “We urge the new Chief of Army Staff to consolidate on the successes recorded by the military in tackling all security threats in the country.

“This could be achieved and deepened sustainably through increased collaboration among the security services and communities. More vigilance and increased cooperation and support through sharing information can pave way for faster mopping up the remnants of the insurgents and ending banditry and kidnapping in parts of the country.”

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has congratulated the new COAS.

He said in a statement by his Special Adviser Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, that he was “looking forward to working with the newly appointed COAS to advance peace and security in Kaduna State.”

<<The Nation>>