A MAJOR shake up has been carried out in the military by the Federal Government. In the exercise announced by the government yesterday, 72 top Army officers were affected.
The redeployment of the senior officers, which was described by sources in government as “routine”, is however believed to be part of the efforts to strengthen the crackdown on terrorism and fill some vacant positions, particularly in the Nigerian Army.
The new structure was expected to have been in place by the first week of January to accommodate newly-promoted Major-Generals and Brigadier-Generals, who were decorated last December. The redeployment, The Guardian learnt, is also meant to fill the vacancies left by the retirement of some senior officers last year.
Military sources said yesterday that the redeployment was delayed till now to allow stability within the system, which would have resulted if the exercise were carried out in the heat of the Boko Haram menace. It is understood in military circles that the fight against the religious sect had turned the corner, hence, the release of the new appointments.
The Nigerian Navy had last Friday released the list of its own senior officers affected by the new changes while the Army yesterday named 29 Major-Generals and 43 Brigadier-Generals as its share of the scheme.
The redeployment as announced yesterday evening by Col. Usman Abdul, the Chief of Staff in the Directorate of Army Public Relations and approved by Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Onyeabo Azubike Ihejirika, affected the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Joseph Shoboiki, who was moved to Defence Headquarters as Director of Policy while the former Director of Training, Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Garba Ayodele Wahab becomes the GOC 1 Division. Maj.-Gen. J.O. Nwaogbo, who was in charge of the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, is the new GOC for 3 Division.
Maj.-Gen. Sunday Idoko, the GOC, 82 Division becomes the new Chief of Logistics (COLOG) at the Army Headquarters while Maj.-Gen. O.O. Oshinowo, Commander of the Special Task Force (STF), Jos, is now GOC 82 Division.
The Commander, Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery (NACA), Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Etim Bassey, has been appointed as the Chief of Administration at Army Headquarters. Maj.-Gen. M.B. Ibrahim, formerly of Defence Headquarters, replaces Gen. Oshinowo as Commander of the Special Task Force (STF) Jos.
Also, Maj.-Gen. A.T. Jibrin and Maj.-Gen. U. Buzugbe have been confirmed as Directors of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Military Secretary (Army) in that order.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Raphael Ishaku Isa, moves to head the Military Police as the Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army while the new Commander of the Nigerian Army Peace-keeping Centre (NAPKC), Jaji, is Maj.-Gen. J.S. Zaruwa. Maj.-Gen. A.S. Agha-Okoro, who until yesterday was at the Department of Army Training and Operations (DATOPS) at the Army Headquarters now heads the Director Legal Services (DLS).
Other new appointments released by the government included the Commander, 3 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. I. I. Abbah; Commander 31 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Ilouga; Commander 21 Brigade, Brig- Gen. R.O. Bamigboye, Chief of Staff at the 81 Division, Brig.-Gen C.O. Okoro, is now Sector Commander/Nigerian Contingent Commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), while Brig.-Gen. M.A. Koleoso has been appointed the Sector Commander/Nigerian Contingent Commander for the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
However, with the exit of Maj.-Gen. Isa as the Army spokesman, there is no immediate replacement among the list of the officers and offices announced.
The Police are undergoing reform and speculations are rife that the Air Force may also soon announce redeployment of officers.