Meet Nigeria’s New Military Chiefs and their main Challenges

After six weeks in office, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has finally nominated new service chiefs who assume acting roles pending confirmation by the Nigerian National Assembly. The new appointments were widely expected as President  Buhari has continuously criticised the military’s inability to defeat the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.

Perhpas more surprising is the fact that both the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), are from Borno State, which is at the heart of the Boko Haram conflict. There is also dissatisfaction and growing accusations of regional favouritism as the majority of the new chiefs hail from Nigeria’s northern regions.

Read the profiles of the new chiefs below:

  • Major-General T.Y. Buratai (Rtd) - Chief of Army Staff

    Major General TY Buratai (Rtd) was the Force Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) before his appointment. He served as the Director at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja and as the Commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He also served as the Brigade Commander at 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army as well as Commander, Joint Task Force, Operation PULO SHIELD.

    Major General Buratai was born on November 24 1960. He hails from Buratai town in Biu local government area in Borno state that has suffered greatly from the brutal threat of the Boko Haram group. About a year ago, Boko Haram attacked his house.

    Buratai joined the military with a Teachers’ Grade II Certificate, which he obtained with distinction. He later attended the National Defence College, Bangladesh. He holds two Master’s degrees, one in History from the University of Maiduguri and another in Philosophy from the Bangladesh University of Professional, Dhaka. In year 2000, General Buratai attended courses in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration in Canada. He also attended the United Nations Staff and Logistics Officers Course, India.

  • Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) – National Security Adviser

    Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) hails from Borno State. He attended King’s College Lagos and was top of his class at all military levels. He holds a PhD in Architecture from the UK. He is a polyglot, he speaks Nigeria’s 3 main languages and others fluently. He is the son of Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, a former minister in Nigeria during the 1960s-70s.

    Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) worked as Chief of Defence Logistics and Commander, Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). He also held several command and staff appointments such as Commander, Guards Brigade, Deputy Commandant, National Defence College and Chief of Defence Intelligence.

  • Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas – Chief of Naval Staff

    Rear Admiral Ibas hails from Cross River State. He joined the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 26th Regular Course in 1979 and was commissioned as a Sub-Lieutenant in 1983.

    Until his appointment as Chief of Naval Staff, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Navy Holdings Limited. His previous appointments includes: Naval Provost Marshal, Chief Staff Officer, Naval Training Command, Chief of Administration, Naval Headquarters, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command and Chief of Logistics, Naval Headquarters.

  • Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin – Chief of Defence Staff

    General Olonishakin hails from Ekiti State. Until his appointment as Chief of Defence Staff, he was the Head of the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command in Minna, Niger State.

  • Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar – Chief of Air Staff

    AVM Sadique hails from Bauchi State. He was the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, NAF Headquarters and the Chief of Defence Communications and Air Officer Commanding, NAF Training Command.

  • Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan – Chief of Defence Intelligence

    AVM Morgan Monday hails from Benue State. He was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer in June 1982. His previous appointments include Air Officer Commanding, NAF Logistics Command.

Three things the new Nigerian military chiefs must tackle

The new service chiefs in Nigeria will have a daunting task ahead of them as they work to tackle multiple high pressure issues at the same time. Here are the three most important:

Boko Haram Insurgency

Between 2009 and 2015, the Boko Haram insurgency has claimed more than 13,000 lives and left thousands of people homeless. Their attacks are now an almost daily routine in northern Nigeria. During  former President Goodluck Jonathan’s last days in office the military recaptured towns occupied by Boko Haram. Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office the frequency of attacks by the terrorist group has increased. The service chiefs will need to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to deal with the Boko Haram threat which involves improved intelligence gathering, regional coordination, and beefing up military hardware and logistics.


Corruption has plagued the Nigerian military since its involvement in politics during Nigeria’s early days. From foot soldiers who ask for bribes at checkpoints to Generals who misappropriate large sums of the military budget for their own personal use, there is a rot in the system that has reduced moral and entrenched inefficiencies and indiscipline that has severely hampered Nigerian  military force readiness. The service chiefs must clean out the decades old rot in the military and restore its respectability.

Civilian – military relationships

Amnesty international recently cited the Nigerian military for gross abuses of civilians and multiple human rights violations in its fight against Boko Haram. But even in non-combat zones, Nigerian military officers are often abusive to civilian populations. This is a legacy of the military’s unchecked  rule of Nigeria’s population for over three decades. Today military officers can beat up civilians, seize and damage property, violate traffic laws and even kill people in metropolitan areas while face very little consequence. The service chiefs must put an end to this behaviour and call service members to account. In a democracy, military service is an honour and service to the citizens.

The post Meet Nigeria’s New Military Chiefs and their main Challenges appeared first on Ventures Africa.