New service chiefs take over and vow to put an end to insecurity

  • The CDS warns that no one should doubt our determination to bring peace.
  • Army Will Discharge Duties Fairly and Hardly — COAS
  • ‘Navy Will Take On Crude Oil Theft, Illegal Refineries’
  • IGP Announces New Policing Strategies and Forms Intervention Squad
  • Experts Discuss Ribadu’s Potential Impact on National Security as NSA

Nigerians may soon see a new strategy to combating insecurity in the country, as the new service chiefs took over yesterday, vowing to step up the pressure on terrorists, oil thieves, and other criminals until they are completely tamed.

Maj.-Gen. David Petraeus, the new Chief of Defence Staff, has been named. Christopher Musa, who took over the command of the Armed Forces from Gen. Lucky Irabor yesterday in Abuja, emphasized the military’s intention to go after terrorists, bandits, and other criminals with full force.

He stated that the military under his command would go to great lengths to safeguard the safety of people and property in Nigeria.

“As the CDS, my promise to Nigeria is that we will continue to improve on our mandate of sustaining peace and tranquility in our country.

“I will assure every Nigerian to feel safe that the armed forces are up and doing and are highly professional and will be there for them. Nobody should doubt our determination to bring peace to Nigeria and anybody, especially the criminals, bandits, terrorists who think otherwise should be ready to face the music.

“The Nigerian armed forces will come out in full force while safeguarding the safety and security of the citizenry,” he stated.

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Gen. Musa also committed to prioritize personnel welfare in order for the military to get the most out of them, stating that a soldier who is well nourished and well cared for will give his all.

In his speech, former CDS General Lucky Irabor asked his successor to uphold the military’s value and professional standards. Irabor stated that he handed over command to a tried and trustworthy commander who, by all accounts, is a model for the armed forces.

“I appreciate the president for finding Maj.-Gen. Musa very suitable to take over the reins of the armed forces. I ask that you redouble your efforts so that the cherished values and professional standard be maintained,” he stated.

Irabor went on to say that a lot had been accomplished and that he was certain that the armed forces were in the correct frame of mind to meet their goals.

“Looking at the mood of the armed forces, they will help you and your team of service chiefs to ensure that the professional standard of the armed forces is retained,” he said.

The Army’s new Chief of Staff (COAS), Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja took leadership of the Nigerian Army as the 23rd army commander Wednesday, promising to carry out his tasks fairly.

Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja took over the baton from the 22nd Chief, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya had been in charge since May 2021.

He stated that God had made it his turn to take the helm of the Nigerian Army, a goal shared by every combatant army commander.

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The new army chief stated that the Nigerian Army had undergone significant transformation in the last 25 months under his predecessor. He cited unprecedented equipment purchase and careful people and material resource management as dividends that Nigeria has begun to harvest as part of the change.

Lagbaja expressed gratitude to the former COAS for mentoring him and advancing his military career. He noted that, as a result of Yahaya’s leadership style, terrorists had been surrendering in unprecedented numbers.

“There is no doubt that the experience and exposure garnered under you will help in the discharge of my duties as the Chief of Army Staff, as you transit into retirement on this glorious day.

“I assure you that I shall do everything within my power to improve on your legacy of a proficient, effective and admirable Nigerian Army.

“I promise that I shall discharge my responsibilities as COAS with fairness; merit and hard work shall be duly rewarded while appropriate measures taken to bring back in line anyone that errs,” he added.

Earlier, Yahaya stated that he was leaving the Nigerian force better than he found it, noting that the force had achieved great achievements in combating instability.

He claimed that the enemy were already disorganized in all theaters of operations. He ordered officers and men to keep up the pace.

“You must always conduct yourselves professionally in accordance with the ethics, customs and traditions.

“You must continue to make deliberate efforts to improve your performance for heightened security, especially at this time of a new administration in our growing democracy.

“I charge you all to re-double your efforts in supporting the incoming Chief of Army Staff to achieve even greater heights.”

Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the 22nd indigenous naval head, also committed to make the maritime sector safer as he took office as the 22nd indigenous naval chief yesterday.

Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, who had been in command since January 2021, handed up responsibility to Ogalla.

The new navy commander praised God for the honor and vowed to keep the Nigerian Navy striving to be the greatest. He also praised President Bola Tinubu for entrusting him with the responsibility, assuring unflinching dedication to the nation’s security and prosperity in line with the President’s agenda.

Ogalla, who pledged to serve Nigeria with the fullest dedication and honesty, stated that the navy under his predecessor has achieved remarkable gains in securing Nigeria’s maritime domain, protecting national interests, and contributing to regional peace and stability. “Most auspiciously are the fleet recapitalisation efforts culminating in the hosting of a Presidential Fleet Review.”

The new CNS asked for everyone’s help in guaranteeing the navy’s success and sustaining the greatest standards of professionalism, integrity, and dedication to duty.

He did, however, acknowledge that the task ahead remained difficult, citing serious difficulties such as crude oil theft, illicit refineries and unregulated fisheries, piracy, sea robbery, other forms of trafficking, and other maritime crimes.

He sees these as risks not only to maritime security, but also to Nigeria’s economic stability and prosperity.

“We are committed to tackling these security challenges head-on and we will intensify our efforts to curb crude oil theft and put an end to illegal refining. We will enhance our capabilities to combat piracy and sea robbery and ensure the general safety of our maritime domain,” he stated.

The former CNS, Rear Adm. Gambo, stated that the navy under his command focused on tackling subversive and malicious actions in the nation’s maritime sector.

He claims that the service has developed more severe operations, concepts, and methods to combat the catastrophic effects of piracy, maritime robbery, the expansion of illegal refineries, brazen crude oil theft, and the destruction of important oil and gas infrastructure, among other things.

“To this end, we heightened our commitment to anti-piracy operations, anti-COT operations, choke point operations as well as riverine and swamp operations.

“To give impetus to this resolve, we embarked on massive fleet renewal, robust logistics management, acquisition of additional platforms, human capital enhancement and holistic infrastructural development as well as effective collaboration with local and international partners.

“Our determination to face the several maritime security challenges would have been weakened if not for the immense support we received from the various quarters,” Gambio added.

He thanked the personnel for their devotion, teamwork, and professionalism, and urged them to maintain the high standards and remain committed to the service.

Meanwhile, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Adeolu Egbetokun, has announced new policing methods in an attempt to reestablish public trust in the police.

During the inaugural conference with strategic police managers comprised of members of the Force Management Team, Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, Commissioners of Police, and other heads of police formations in the country, the IGP unveiled the new strategy aimed at achieving operational successes and regaining public trust in the force.

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The seminar was conducted at the Force Headquarters in Abuja’s Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Peacekeeping Hall.

Highlights of the IGP’s policing vision include upholding the sanctity of the Nigeria Police Force’s legal framework; combating crime and criminality through the establishment of a specialized Quick Intervention Squad comprised of combat ready Police Mobile Force personnel with effective and enhanced training in crisis de-escalation and violent crime reduction strategies; and leveraging cutting-edge tools, data analytics, and intelligence networks for a robust police force.

The new policing vision will also emphasize improving the police training curriculum for attitudinal and behavioral changes; resurrecting the Police Officer Support Unit (POSU) of the Police Medical Services to serve as a confidential support and counseling facility for all police officers; implementing a new recognition and reward system to better motivate and encourage our dedicated personnel; and community policing through a more vibrant engagement of our officers.

In other news, the IGP has named CP Olatunji Disu as his Principal Staff Officer.

CSP Ganiyu Adebowale was appointed as Personal Assistant (PA-IGP), SP Adewale Ajibuwa as Chief Protocol Officer (CPO-IGP), DSP Sheriff Lawal as Aide-de-Camp (ADC-IGP), and DSP Olawole Ogunwusi J. as the Chief Security Officer (IGP).

Egbetokun told Nigerians that the police officers under his charge would represent quality, integrity, and compassion. He invited residents to work with law enforcement to create a future in which justice triumphs, the defenseless find consolation, citizens go about their legitimate business without fear of insecurity or molestation, and every citizen may fully believe in the authority of law enforcement.

Furthermore, while Nigerians await to see how the newly appointed National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, will coordinate the nation’s security apparatus to ensure relative peace in all regions of the country, experts have stated that the fact that he is the first ex-police officer to hold the position since the restoration of democracy in 1999 will not hinder his job.

Security experts praised President Tinubu for appointing the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the position, expressing hope that Ribadu will use his wealth of experience to ensure that all of the country’s security apparatuses work effectively together to secure the country.

Although several experts chastised the President for selecting a retired police officer as the NSA, virtually all agreed that he had broken no rules.

Dennis Amachree, a former Director of DSS, told The Guardian that “appointing Nuhu Ribadu as NSA is a welcome departure from appointing ex-military generals to that position.” He added, however, that Ribadu should be prepared to coordinate the military, security, and intelligence communities.

According to Christopher Oji, a security expert, the former EFCC boss went on severe security training all around the world, where he blended in with other security personnel.

“He is well read and does not need to be in the military or the DSS to be grounded in security. The appointment is in order. The President might have put certain things into consideration such as sincerity and the will power to do the job. We know Nuhu Ribadu to be a sincere person and a dogged fighter. He will be able to tell it to the president without fear of favour. “When we go back to history, the president had always appointed retired military men or the DSS officers for the NSA job, but how have they fared? They have always been enmeshed in politics and tribalism.

“Probably the president thought towards that angle and decided to try a retired police officer, after all, he has enough books to read to equip himself more. He has contacts in the military where he may seek advice on defence or the Immigration Service where he can also seek advice on border security,” he stated.

According to Oji, the country currently requires someone who can provide fair advise without engaging in politics or being tribalistic.

“Ribadu will do better than the military men who have been so involved in politics. Yes, we need total deviation from the status quo. We should be able to try other agencies. I think the police are in a better position to advise on how to police the country.”

Alhaji Yushau Shuaib, security consultant and editor of PR Nigeria, noted that an NSA is expected to advise and coordinate security affairs, diplomatic endeavors, economic strategy, and intelligence services for the nation’s peace and stability.

“Therefore, anyone with cognitive experience and exposure in security and most importantly intelligence service at the highest level can make positive impact as NSA.”

The selection, according to Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), was not well thought through.

“It is a ‘job for the boys’ sort of appointment and political patronage at best,” he claimed.

According to Onwubiko, the post of a National Security Adviser is so critical that no effort should be spent to guarantee that only the best individual is chosen “instead of putting a round peg in a square hole as it were.”

“It is inappropriate given the lack of any sort of requisite experience in diplomacy, intelligence, defence and other key skills that are required for such a key appointment. However, the job of a National Security Adviser to the President is not necessarily for retired military officers. After all, the last person to hold that position failed abysmally to unify the different sections of the national security institutions to be able to win the war on terror.

“Rather, it was during the last eight years that terrorists almost took control of the nation’s federal capital by invading the city many times, including the massive destruction of Kuje Minimum Security Prisons in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during which time over a thousand high profile Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram escaped and haven’t been recaptured till date.

“Besides, in the U.S. from which we borrowed that practice of appointing a National Security Adviser, and in a few other jurisdictions, tested and trusted diplomats, scholars in distinctive courses such as politics, diplomacy, international law and international relations are usually appointed.

“In USA, there are many instances of appointment of non career military officers such as Condolisa Rice as NSA, amongst other important scholars that have served the different Presidents of the U.S.” He added

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“What the NSA needs to do to combat the heightened state of insecurity is to coordinate and unify the war on terror being waged by the diverse segments of the Armed Forces and police, including the national intelligence department of the nation, so all these relevant security related institutions are made to work in harmony to achieve the collective goal of eradicating all traces of threats to our national security.” Onwubiko added.

“He has to bring the best brains in national security, defence, politics and international law and relations to contribute their knowledge that will culminate in the professional enforcement of those important strategies to achieve the objectives for which he is appointed to that very high profile post.

“He must not play politics with that appointment and it is not to be seen as a time for him to accommodate his followers who are his political lieutenants. He must look beyond partisan politics and work vigorously with the other top officers heading the relevant national security bodies, to achieve a common national objective of making Nigeria safe and stopping armed freelance attackers, murderers, terrorists, armed herdsmen, from unleashing blood-cuddling violence on the civil populace.”

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