The newly appointed service chiefs will formally assume office after the official handover by their immediate predecessors today at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
This was confirmed yesterday in a text message by the Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, stating that the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Air Staff (CAS) would all commence their official duties today.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday had announced the replacement of all the security chiefs with the exception of the Inspector General of Police (IG) who was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan a few weeks before the end of his tenure.
The new security chiefs are Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin who replaced Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh as the CDS; Major-General T.Y. Buratai who took over from Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah as the COAS; and Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas who replaced Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin as the CNS.
Others are Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar who took over from Air Marshal Adesola Amosu as the new CAS, Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan, who replaced Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi as the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) while Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) replaced Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) as the National Security Adviser (NSA).
“You know legally and by the presidential pronouncement, the appointment of the new service chiefs was with immediate effect. However, one must consider the military tradition here. You cannot expect those military officers at that level who have put in such number of years to just disappear without proper handover notes.
“Since Monday, there have been discussions between the outgoing and incoming service chiefs and handover notes are being prepared and by tomorrow (Thursday), everything would be formalised,” another military source said.
He said there would still be a formal pulling out ceremony in accordance with military tradition for the ex-service chiefs.
“And you have to also take into consideration that the new service chiefs would have to be confirmed by the Senate, possibly next week,” he said.
In addition, the military source clarified that the appointment of the new CDS who graduated from Course 25 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and Buratai from Course 29 has provided some leeway that could prevent the mass retirement of other serving army generals as reported by some newspapers.
The source said since the CDS was appointed from the Nigerian Army, some generals from Course 26 to 28 could be retained and posted to the Defence Headquarters.
“A lot of brilliant officers have been compulsorily retired and forced out of service as a result of this military tradition. This has in a way depleted the knowledge pool needed to prosecute the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.
“However, I see a leeway with the present arrangement that not all those affected generals will be retired,” the source said.