President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday appointed new service chiefs, finally letting go of the Chief of Defence Chief, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, after the four had spent five years and five months in office.
Although Buhari said on Tuesday that he accepted their resignation letters, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, already clarified in the past that the military chiefs could not resign and had to be laid off by the Commander-In-Chief.
Buhari had on July 13, 2015, appointed Olonisakin, Buratai, Ibas, and Abubakar.
In a State House Press Release on Tuesday, Buhari’s Special Adviser, Femi Adesina, said the new service chiefs were: Major-General Leo Irabor as the CDS, Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru as the army chief, Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo as the naval chief and Air-Vice Marshal I. O. Amao, as the new air chief.
Major General Leo Irabor (Chief of Defence Staff)
Irabor, an indigene of Agbor in Delta State, attained the status of RC 34 officer in 2014. He served as the Commander of The Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army (TRADOC).
Before that, Irabor was the immediate Chief of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters; he took over from the erstwhile commander, Major General A. A. Tarfa.
Irabor served as the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the army group leading the onslaught against Boko Haram in the North-East.
He was replaced in May 2017, by Major General I. Attahiru. Irabor was moved to the Multinational Task Force (MNJTF) as the Field Commander.
Major General Ibrahim Attahiru (Chief of Army Staff)
Attahiru served as the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole before he was removed from the position barely nine months after he was appointed in 2017.
During his tenure as the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, the Theatre recorded many successes against the insurgents following concerted efforts of troops in the newly-launched Operation DEEP PUNCH 2 and Operation RUWAN WUTA in Sambisa forest.
Some of the operations he led resulted in the killing of two key Boko Haram commanders, Abdu Kawuri and Abubakar Benishek, at Alafa in the Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
His redeployment followed the deadliest attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on Biu town in Borno where at least 18 people were killed and 52 others seriously injured.
General Attahiru was redeployed to Nigerian Army Headquarters as Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans.
Ibrahim Attahiru also served as the Chief of Defence Logistics. He also served as the Director, Army Public Relations in 2013.
He was former General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu.
Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo (Chief of Naval Staff)
Gambo was a Commodore before he was promoted to the position of a Rear Admiral in 2016.
In 2017, Gambo, formerly a Director of Search and Rescue Defence Headquarters, was made Chief Staff Officer, Naval Training Command.
Air Vice-Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao (Chief of Air Staff)
Amao was born on September 14, 1965, at Enugu. An indigene of Osogbo in Osun State, he attended Nuhu Bamali Primary School Kaduna from 1971 – 1977; Command Secondary School, Kakuri, Kaduna from 1977 – 1982; Federal College of Freshwater and Fisheries Technology (FCFFT), New Bussa from 1994 – 1996; University of Madras, India from 2002 – 2003; Kaduna Polytechnic from 2005 – 2006 and National Defence University, China from 2012 – 2013.
He enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force on January 19, 1984, as a member of 35 Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course and was commissioned as Pilot Officer on December 20, 1986. He started his Primary Flying Training at 301 Flying Training School (FTS) Kaduna from 1987 – 1989, did the Basic Flying Training at 303 FTS Kano from 1990 – 1992 and Tactical Fighter Training at 99 Air Combat Training Group (99 ACTG) Kainji from 1993 – 1999. Thereafter, he went for Instructor Pilot Course at 301 FTS Kaduna from 2004 – 2005.
The senior officer has served at 99 ACTG Kainji as Trainee/Squadron Pilot from 1993 – 2004, 301 FTS Kaduna as Instructor Pilot/Squadron Pilot from 2004 – 2007, HQ Nigerian Air Force Abuja as Air Assistance to Chief of Air Staff from September 2008 to May 2010, Nigerian High Commission, London as Deputy Defence Adviser from May 10 – August 12, 2010.
Among other things, he was Air Component Commander of Operation, Zaman Lafiya/ Lafiya Dole (North-East operation) from February 13, 2015 – February 16, 2016. He doubled as Acting Deputy Theatre Commander (Air Ops) for operation Lafiya Dole from January 4, 2016 – February 16, 2016.
He was also the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command (TAC) in 2018.
He is a fighter pilot and has participated in various operations such as: Draw Down of AFISMA operation in Mali from August 2013 – January 2014, Operation Zaman Lafiya from February 20 – July 19, 2015, and operation Lafiya Dole (North-East operations) from July 19, 2015 – February 16, 2016. His decorations include: Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS), General Service Medal (GSM), River Benue Star (RBS), Passed Staff College (psc) and Fellow National Defence University (FNDU) China.
The senior officer has attended several military courses which include: Junior Division Course at Armed Forces Command Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji from June – December 1986, Senior Division Course at Defence Services Staff College India from 2002 – 2003, Defence Course at National Defence University China from 2012 – 2013, Aircraft Accident Investigation in Civil Airline at NCAT Zaria and Aircraft Accident Investigation Course at Karachi, Pakistan.
He has the following academic qualifications: MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras, India, Master of Military Science and Strategy (MMSc) and Advance Diploma in Defence and Strategy Studies from NDU China, Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy from Kaduna Polytechnic, National Diploma in Freshwater and Fisheries Technology from FCFFT, New Bussa and Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education.