Posted by News Express | 16 January 2014 | 3,821 times
The sweeping changes in Nigeria’s Military High Command announced today by President Goodluck Jonathan may have been informed by his disappointment with the failure of the erstwhile military commanders to root out the Boko Haram insurgency.
Under the new order announced via a statement by presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, “Air Marshal Alex Badeh takes over from Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim as Chief of Defence Staff;
“Major-General Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah takes over from Lt.-General Azubike O. Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff;
“Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin takes over from Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu takes over from Air Marshal Badeh as Chief of Air Staff.”
By making Badeh, a native of Adamawa, one of the states in the Boko Haram circle of influence, the new Defence Chief, Jonathan seems to have decided to use a “home boy” to tackle the problem. This was the same thinking that last year informed his appointment of retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, from the far northern Sokoto State, as National Security Adviser.
The international news agency Associated Press said about the new appointments:
“Badeh takes over as Africa’s biggest oil producer battles Islamic extremists in the northeast. Badeh’s home state of Adamawa as well as neighboring Borno and Yobe states have been under a state of emergency since May. Thousands of security forces deployed to the area quickly drove Boko Haram insurgents out of major urban centers but there has been a resurgence in attacks recently.
“On Tuesday, a car bomb exploded in a busy commercial center of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital that is the birthplace of Boko Haram. At least 43 people were killed, according to a mortuary official who said some bodies were burned beyond recognition.
“On Dec. 2, hundreds of Boko Haram fighters in trucks and a stolen armored personnel carrier attacked an air force base and a separate army barracks on the outskirts of Maiduguri in one of the insurgent group's most daring attacks. Two helicopters and three military aircraft were set ablaze and destroyed.
“Such embarrassments to the military have raised questions about possible collusion. Jonathan himself has charged that there are Boko Haram sympathizers in his government and among security forces.
“A U.S. travel advisory issued earlier in January said, ‘Late 2013 saw an increase in Boko Haram attacks and clashes with Nigerian government security forces in northern Nigeria. ... Boko Haram is known to descend on whole towns, robbing banks and businesses, attacking police and military installations, and setting fire to private homes.’
“Thousands of people have been killed since the uprising that began in 2009. It has become the biggest threat to the security and cohesion of Nigeria, which has more than 160 million people. The extremists say they want to impose Islamic Shariah law across all of Nigeria, which has about equal numbers of Muslims who dominate the north and Christians who live mainly in the south.
“In the group’s highest-profile attack, a Boko Haram member detonated a car bomb at the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Aug. 26, 2011, killing 25 people and wounding more than 100. The United States last year designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization.”
•Photo shows Jonathan in the Commander-in-Chief’s uniform.
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