Tag Archives: army

Making Sense of President Jonathan’s New Military Appointments


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PREVIOUS HOLDER

NEWLY APPOINTED

Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim Air Marshal Alex Badeh
Chief of Army Staff Lt-General Azubike Ihejirika Major-General Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah
Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu
Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba Rear-Admiral Usman Jibrin

There has been a lot of “noise” in the Nigerian media about President Goodluck Jonathan’s supposedly controversial appointment of new military service chiefs for the army, air force, and navy.

To cut a long story short the main talking points are:

  • The new heads of the army, air force, and navy appointed by President Jonathan are (respectively): Major-General Kenneth Minimah, Air-Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu, and Rear-Admiral Usman Jibrin. They replaced Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, and Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba (respectively). Badeh is actually still employed though. Although he was replaced as Chief of Air Staff, he was promoted to replace Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim who was also retired. Net effect = one promotion and three retirements.
  • Expect the following rank promotions shortly: Badeh to Air Chief Marshal, Minimah to Lt-General, Amosu to Air Marshal, and Jibrin to Vice-Admiral. Promotions at this level of the armed forces usually require the heads of the army, air force, and navy to be three star generals (or equivalent), and the chief of defence staff to be a four star general (or equivalent). Badeh is currently equivalent to a three star general, and Minimah, Amosu, and Jibrin have two stars. Those ranks will probably change shortly.

Prior to the current appointments, the new men held the following posts:

Air Vice-Marshal Badeh – Chief of Air Staff

Major-General Minimah – Commander of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Jaji.

Rear-Admiral Jibrin – Director of Training at Defence Headquarters.

Air Vice Marshal Amosu – Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Makurdi.*

*The statement announcing the new appointments by President Jonathan’s spokesman Reuben Abati actually messed up Amosu’s post by simultaneously claiming he was the head of the presidential air fleet, AND Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command of the air force! Obviously Amosu could not have been in two different posts simultaneously.

People are literally foaming at the mouth with rage for a number of reasons. Namely:

  • The new Chief of Army Staff Major-General Minimah is from the Niger Delta, like President Jonathan.  Minimah is from Rivers State – right “next door” to the President’s home state of Bayelsa. The President is being accused of ethnic favouritism.
  • Apparently over 30 (or 50 depending on who you believe) senior officers were bypassed in order to appoint Minimah. These officers will now be retired as they cannot serve under Minimah, who is junior to them.

Minimah graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in 1981 as a member of the NDA’s 25th regular combatant course. Amosu is also a graduate of course 25, while Jibrin is slightly senior to Minimah and Amosu, and is a graduate of course 24. The new Chief of Defence Staff Badeh was a graduate of course 21.

What do all these references to various courses mean? The military is a hierarchical institution. It is not a hospital or manufacturing plant. When people get promoted, life does not just go on as normal. In a country like Nigeria which was under military rule for 28 years, military promotions have national security AND political implications. Heads of state have been assassinated and coups staged as a result of the mismanagement of military promotions. Therefore there is a well-established tradition that when a military officer is promoted to head any of the armed services, any officers who are senior to him are retired or removed from his operational command. This nips potential disaffection (and political crises) in the bud. It has been happening for several decades.

We do not know why President Jonathan appointed Minimah (maybe because he is a star, the best, he’s comfortable with him, he trusts him, because he’s from the Delta…). Whatever the reason, once Minimah (an officer from NDA regular course 25) got appointed to replace Ihejirika (an officer from course 18) – lots of officers from courses 19-24 had to go.

This has happened lots of times before. Several senior officers were retired to make way for Minimah’s predecessor Ihejirika!  When former President Obasanjo retired Chief of Army Staff Lt-General Victor Malu (a course 3 graduate) in 2001, Obasanjo retired a lot of officers to make way for Major-General Alexander Ogomudia (also from the Delta – and four intakes below Malu) to become the new chief of army Staff.  As far back as 1990 President Babangida also ignored lots of senior officers like Major-Generals Nasko, Duba, Useni, Nwachukwu, Haladu etc in order to make way for Salihu Ibrahim (who was junior to all of them) as the new chief of army staff. Lots of fine officers had to retire to make way for Ibrahim.

Military appointments in the General ranks are effectively political appointments because of the visibility and political sensitivity of such appointments. President Jonathan is currently embattled and is facing attacks on multiple fronts from his political opponents. Senior members of his political party are defecting and next year he is facing a mammoth presidential election against an opposition that is resolutely determined to get rid of him.  However these overarching political events should not overstate the significance of what in most other countries would be routine military postings.

Are we really surprised that the President retired men who have been in service for over 35 years, some of whom are close to 60 years old? They had already passed the mandatory service limit of 35 years for military officers and were due for retirement any day. Their continued presence in service was at the prerogative of the President (AKA the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces). What President Jonathan has done with these military appointments is not remarkable and is no different to what his predecessors have been doing for four decades.

Max Siollun

https://twitter.com/maxsiollun

Nigerian Troops Flood into Northern Cities after State of Emergency


After President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, army troop reinforcements have begun arriving in northern cities such as Maiduguri and Yola.

It is a long overdue move and I am surprised it took the President this long to declare a state of emergency. The state of emergency means that the army can take greater responsibility for security in those three states. Troops can occupy city centers, take over buildings, and arrest and detain suspects without trial. Two incidents seemed to have tipped the balance in favour of the state of emergency:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/15/us-nigeria-emergency-idUSBRE94E0JC20130515?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

1) Boko Haram nonchalantly dismissed the President’s offer of an amnesty. By doing so, Boko Haram seemed to declare its intention to settle its scores with the government on the battlefield, rather than via dialogue. It seems that President dialogue is now ready to meet them on a battlefield rather than in a conference room.

2) The recent Baga attacks which left hundreds of people dead marked a new deadly escalation in the conflict with Boko Haram.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/05/15/nigeria-emergency-trucks-idINL6N0DW2T120130515

Although Boko Haram has launched attacks across the north and as far south as the capital in Abuja, the three north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in the Kanuri heartland, represent Boko Haram’s support base. It has taken over at least one-third of the local government areas in Borno state. Losing control of its own territory to a terrorist organisation seems to have been the last straw for the government. President Jonathan accused Boko Haram of declaring war against Nigeria.

Excerpts from the President’s national broadcast announcing the state of emergency:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GglRw0urlw

Innocent civilians are likely to be caught in the inevitable shoot-outs between the army and Boko Haram. There are reports that Boko Haram has been forcefully conscripting new members, and threatening them with death if they do not kill in the group’s name within weeks of joining.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/15/nigeria-boko-haram-attacks-military-reprisals

Nonetheless the state of emergency will be popular among the general Nigerian population. Many have accused the President of being weak and of treating Boko Haram with kid gloves. This state of emergency will boost his security credentials and demonstrate a willingness to forcefully confront Boko Haram.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/05/2013514192543867669.html

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/05/nigerian-terror

Even if the troop surge proves successful, it would offer only temporary respite. Boko Haram can easily slip across the border into neighbouring countries, regroup, and return. Only a long term political and economic solution can permanently end Boko Haram’s violent insurgency.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqMw00fcV04

http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/05/15/nigeria-emergency-trucks-idINL6N0DW2T120130515

Has Boko haram Turned Maiduguri and Borno Into Nigeria’s Afghanistan?


Great video by Sahara TV interviewing Al-Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege who visited Maiduguri in Borno State. Due to Boko Haram activities in the the state’s , and the Joint Task Force’s (JTF) heavy presence, the state has been heavily militarised.

 

While residents welcome the JTF’s presence, daily life has been badly affected with normal routine civilian life being heavily disrupted by fighting between Boko Haram and the JTF, JTF curfews between 9pm and 6am. However residents are so frightened that they do not leave their homes before 11am since gun battles between the JTF and Boko haram tend to rage in the early morning.

 

Some residents also accuse the JTF of indiscriminately arresting civilians whom they suspect of being Boko Haram members, and of summarily executing suspects. In their defence, the JTF say it is next to impossible for them to distinguish civilians from Boko Haram members since Boko Haram members might live with family members who are not members.

 

 

Is the Army Making Boko Haram Attacks Worse?


 

Are the tactics of the Nigerian army making the Boko Haram insurgency even worse? A report by Amnesty International entitled Nigeria: Trapped in the Cycle of Violence accused the army of carrying out summary executions, torture and detention without trial. It accused the army of breaching human rights with “impunity in the name of fighting terror”. Abuses include illegal executions and forced disappearances. The report warns that the army’s repressive tactics may increase support for Boko Haram.

 

The army’s spokesman for the Joint Military Taskforce in north-eastern Nigeria (Lt-Colonel Sagir Musa), denied the accusations.

Lt-Colonel Sagir Musa denied the allegations.

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2012/11/201211218443135736.html

UK Guardian “Nigerian Army is in a Shocking State”


An article in today’s Guardian newspaper has a damning assessment of the Nigerian army, It claims there is “a lack of training and discipline among Nigerian troops”. Nigerian troops are being relied upon as part of a regional ECOWAS force to oust Islamist fighters from northern Mali.

The report also alleges that “Nigerian forces lack training and kit, so they simply don’t have the capability to carry out even basic military manoeuvres…They have poor discipline and support.”  Read the full report below.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/05/nigerian-army-mali-mission-delayed?INTCMP=SRCH

Profile of Nigeria’s New Service Chiefs (October 2012)


Last week President Goodluck Jonathan retired the Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin and Chief of Air Staff  Air Marshal Muhammed Umar.

The new Chief of Defence Staff is Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim (who until his appointment was the Chief of Naval Staff). The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, was the only service chief to retain his post.

 

Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim

 

 

Vice Admiral Ibrahim was born on June 15, 1955. A graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, he trained with the Royal and Indian navies. Vice Admiral Ibrahim is a navigation and direction specialist.

He holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Ahmadu Bello University. He was at the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK, as a member in 2002, where he also obtained a Master’s degree from the Department of War Studies and Public Policy at the Kings’ College, University of London.

He was appointed navy secretary in August 2005. After that he was appointed chief of administration and subsequently chief of training and operations. In February 2009, he was appointed flag officer commanding Western Naval Command. He was appointed  the chief of the naval staff on September 8, 2010.

 

Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh

 

 

Air Vice Marshal Badeh was born in Vimtim, Mubi North local government area, Adamawa State, on January 10, 1957. He was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 21 Regular Course on January 3, 1977, and was commissioned pilot officer on July 3, 1979. He was promoted air vice marshal on January 3, 2008.

He started his flying career at the 301 Flying Training School on the Bulldog Primary Trainer aircraft in 1979. Between 1981 and 82, he attended undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in the United States Air Force.

He attended the junior division course at Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 1988, and the senior division course at the same institution between 1995 and 1996. He attended the National War College as a member of Course 14 and graduated in August 2006. He was at the University of Ibadan for an M.Sc in Strategic Studies.

AVM Badeh has held several appointments, among which are staff officer, 2 Operations, at Training Command; CO, administration, operations support and operations wings, and then the office of fleet operations officer all in the presidential air fleet. He was commander, presidential air fleet, from June 2002 to October 25, 2004. He also held the offices of command training officer at Training Command; deputy director, training; and director of research at the Defence HQ.

AVM Badeh was a directing staff and director, national military strategy, at the National Defence College. The senior officer is a qualified flying instructor and has accumulated over 6,000 flying hours on the Bulldog 123, Do 128-6, Do 228, Hawker 125, Hawker 1000, Falcon 900 and Gulfstream 5 airplanes. AVM Badeh has extensive international flight operations experience. Until his appointment as chief of the air staff, he was the air officer commanding, Training Command, Kaduna.

 

Vice-Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba

 

A graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna Regular Course 22 and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, he trained at various times with the United States, Royal and Indian navies.   Rear Admiral Dele Joseph is a Navigation and Direction Specialist and holds a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan.

Rear Admiral Ezeoba has had tours of duty onboard several Nigerian Naval Ships in various capacities and successfully commanded different classes of Nigerian Naval Ships including the nation’s flagship, Nigerian Naval Ship ARADU.   He was a Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and the National Defence College, Abuja. He would later return to the Defence College as Director Curriculum and Programmes Development.

Rear Admiral DJ Ezeoba also served as the Director of Operations and later as the Chief of Training and Operations at the Naval Headquarters.   It was from this appointment that he was appointed as the Deputy Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji. Thereafter, he was appointed as the Chief of Administration at the Defence Headquarters, the appointment he held till his elevation to the present appointment of the Chief of the Naval Staff on 4 October 2012.

Rear Admiral Ezeoba is fluent in various languages including, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. He is a member Royal Institute of Navigation and the US Naval Institute. He is decorated with the Distinguished Service Star (DSS) and the Golden Jubilee Medal. He is happily married to Vivian Ifeyinwa Ezeoba and the family is blessed with children. His hobbies include reading, golf and football.

Rear Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba was born on 25 July 1958 in Jos, Plateau State although he hails from Ibusa in Oshimili- North Local Government Area of Delta State.   A graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna Regular Course 22 and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, he trained at various times with the United States, Royal and Indian navies.   Rear Admiral Dele Joseph is a Navigation and Direction Specialist and holds a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan.

Rear Admiral Ezeoba has had tours of duty onboard several Nigerian Naval Ships in various capacities and successfully commanded different classes of Nigerian Naval Ships including the nation’s flagship, Nigerian Naval Ship ARADU.   He was a Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and the National Defence College, Abuja. He would later return to the Defence College as Director Curriculum and Programmes Development.

Rear Admiral DJ Ezeoba also served as the Director of Operations and later as the Chief of Training and Operations at the Naval Headquarters.   It was from this appointment that he was appointed as the Deputy Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji. Thereafter, he was appointed as the Chief of Administration at the Defence Headquarters, the appointment he held till his elevation to the present appointment of the Chief of the Naval Staff on 4 October 2012.

Rear Admiral Ezeoba is fluent in various languages including, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. He is a member Royal Institute of Navigation and the US Naval Institute. He is decorated with the Distinguished Service Star (DSS) and the Golden Jubilee Medal. He is happily married to Vivian Ifeyinwa Ezeoba and the family is blessed with children. His hobbies include reading, golf and football.

 

 

Israeli Religious Military Exemption to End


 

Military service is a compulsory requirement of most Israelis. However Israel has historically exempted ultra-orthodox religious Jews (“Haredim”) from military service. The exemption was originally granted by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, and was meant to apply to a few hundred religious students.

 

However demographics and economic realities have overtaken the exemption. The Haredim are now the fastest growing segment of Israel’s population. They make up 10% of Israel’s population, 13% of Jewish males, and 25% of primary school pupils.

60% of Haredim men are not employed in mainstream economy, and estimates claim that their exemption costs Israel $750 million every year.

 

Forcing the Haredim to serve is likely to cause a showdown as many of them will resist military service. Expect a compromise. I don’t see Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu getting into a fight with the Haredim.

An Analysis of the Coup in Mali


An army mutiny in Mali seems to have morphed into a military coup. Apparently the Malian Defence Minister visited an army barracks and was unable to reassure troops that the government could suppress a Tuareg uprising. The troops fired into the air, headed for, and looted the Presidential lodge. The army then made a TV broadcast announcing the overthrow of President Amadou Toumani Toure, a curfew and suspension of the constitution.

Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Toure is apparently safe, and is being guarded by elite “red beret” troops who have remained loyal to him.

One the coup leaders Captain Amadou Sanago spoke to the BBC and claimed the Malian army intends to organise new elections for the election of a “new President, legally for all Malians”.  When he was asked why the army should overthrow Mali’s democractically elected government, he dropped the phone and ended the telephone interview.


http://www.reuters.com/video/2012/03/23/mali-coup-leader-says-president-is-safe?videoId=232173171

A coup in Mali

http://www.npr.org/2012/03/23/149223151/malis-coup-a-setback-for-a-young-african-democracy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/mali-coup-president_n_1374641.html

Footage of the Nigerian Civil War


 

Excellent video clips of the Nigerian civil war featuring archive footage such as:

 

*An interview with Belgian mercenary Marc Goosens.

*An interview with Ojukwu.

*Discussion of the weapons disparity between federal troops and Biafran troops.

*An interview with a South African mercenary called Major Williams.

*The end of the war – Ojukwu’s departure, Effiong’s radio broadcast and ceremony at Dodan Barracks to end the war. I thought the sight of Effiong meeting Gowon for the first time in three years and telling Gowon he was “reporting for re-appointment and redeployment” was poignant.

*The end of war broadcast at Dodan Barracks by Gowon, in the presence of Colonel Obasanjo.  I notice that Gowon very pointedly refused to call the Biafrans “rebels”, did not use words like “surrender”, and spoke of Biafran “acceptance” of one Nigeria.

 

youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyLlGQ1e4qc&feature=youtu.be

Nigerian Army’s New Senior Officers


GOC 1 Division, Kaduna – Major General Garba Ayodele Wahab (former Director Training at the Army Headquarters)

GOC 2 Division, Ibadan – Major-General Muhammadu Abubakar (retained his position)

GOC 3 Division, Jos – Major General J. O. Nwaogbo

GOC, 81 Division, Lagos – Major-General Kenneth Minimah (retained his position)

GOC 82 Division, Enugu Major General Olayinka O. Oshinowo

Director of Policy, Defence Headquarters – Major General Joseph Shoboiki

General Sunday O. Idoko moved from the 82 Division, Enugu as GOC to become Chief of Logistics (COLOG) Army Headquarters

Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relation, Colonel Usman Abdul

Chief of Administration at Army Headquarters – Major General Emmanuel Etim Bassey

Commander, Special Task Force (STF) Jos – Major General Mohammed B. Ibrahim

Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) – Major General A.T. Jibrin

Military Secretary (Army) – Major General U. Buzugbe

Provost Marshal – Major General Raphael Ishaku Isa

Commander of the Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Centre (NAPKC) Jaji – Major

General J.S. Zaruwa

Director of Legal Services (DLS) – Major General A.S. Agha-Okoro

Sector Commander/Nigerian Contingent Commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) – Brigadier General C. O. Okoro

Sector Commander/Nigerian Contingent Commander for the United Nations Mission in Dafur (UNAMID) – Brigadier General M. A. Koleoso

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