Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Onyeabo Ihejirika addresses Mali-bound Nigerian soldiers

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Onyeabo Ihejirika addresses Nigerian soldiers

31 December, 2013

In its bid to reposition the Nigerian Army for expected operational
challenges in the coming year and
beyond, the Nigerian Army Council has
commenced issuing terminal letters to over 40 generals preparatory to their leaving the force.

The letters from the Military Secretary’s office said the letters are being issued to officers of the rank of colonel, brigadier generals and major generals and the letters take effect from January 2014. Many of the officers are to commence their retirement with immediate effect from this December.

Among the generals who have so far
received the letters were some Principal Staff Officers at Army and Defence headquarters, Commandants of triservice institutions, Corps Commanders as well as those of Army-owned training institutions. Officers from TRADOC, Divisions and Corps headquarters are also involved.

Vanguard gathered that while some of the Generals have served the mandatory 35 years in service, others have been caught up by the age on rank requirement for retirement while some can no longer be promoted on the ground that they failed three opportunities given them by the promotion board.

Army Chief on repositioning

Vanguard gathered that the decision of the Army authorities to issue the
terminal leave letters followed the
determination of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Onyeabor Azubuike Ihejirika to commence the repositioning of the Nigerian Army for the expected operational challenges in year 2014 and beyond.

When Vanguard sought to know why
such a large number of generals would be allowed to leave service even when President Goodluck Jonathan had in the past, reiterated the need to keep these officers that cost the nation colossal amounts of money to train, an Army source said: “Yes, the services of the officers would still be needed by the Army but it will be in a different capacity.

“To ensure that the top of the service is not too heavy, thereby hindering
deserved promotions and movements
(postings) of officers with new ideas and innovations, these officers (retirees) have to be retired in line with the Armed Forces Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS).

“However, the experts among them
whose services are still relevant, will be deployed to our training, engineering and tactical institutions to continue to impart knowledge and practical experience to upcoming soldiers”, the source said.

According to the source, “the ever
dynamic internal security crisis involving Boko Haram, kidnapping, armed robbery and renewed banditry along the nation’s border areas are also areas the Army intends to pay more attention in the coming months.

“Towards this end, tested and highly
trained officers who have garnered both local and international experience will not just be discarded. Their services will be required in strategic planning, training and support in dealing with moves aimed at containing and curtailing the myriads of security challenges facing the nation”.

It will be recalled that 27 Major Generals and over 50 brigadier generals of the Nigerian Army were recently promoted by the Nigerian Army Council.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. Victor says:

    Making room for the next COAS?……….watch out

    • beegeagle says:

      Oga Victor the PRECISE has dropped a subtle hint of an impending change at the level of COAS. I hope we are taking notes because it shall come to pass.

      Perhaps the incumbent CDS shall be going into retirement after 39 years of stellar service while Lt Gen Ihejirika, a 38 year veteran, shall emerge as the new CDS and be promoted to 4-star generalship. The man has done very well for the NA in retraining, barracks rehabilitation, new brigades/regiments/battalions, innovation etc

      So who becomes the new COAS? Since 2012, I have heard that Maj Gen KTJ Minimah aka “Jumping General”, ex-GOC 81 Division and incumbent Commander of the Infantry Corps was one of three senior officers interviewed for the job of COAS.

      Last I heard in H2 2013, Minimah ALONE was said to have again been interviewed for the slot.

      It appears as if the man is in pole position to emerge as COAS even as nothing is ever certain about these matters.

      Senior officers such as Maj Gens Ugo Buzugbe, JO Nwaogbo, Ebi Awala, MD Abubakar, Garba Wahab, AA Olaniyi etc are always sure to be in the loop of potential COAS though. We shall see how it pans out.

    • Victor says:

      The Eagle has landed…..I said it. Beeg well done. Excellent prediction on COAS. I did not want to comment for reasons you will seem to know.

  2. Yagazie says:

    Personally, I think that relative to our population, and geographical size of our country and current /future internal security and external peace-keeping/enforcment needs, the numerical strength of our Army should be doubled to at least 300,000 men, with a further 2 army Divisions being created to have a total of 8 Divisons which will then be subsumed witin 2 Army Groups each headed by a Lt. General, with the COAS being a full four star General. That way we won’t have a situation where excellent officers have to retire because there is no room for promotion/movement. Oga Beegz has in a past posting done an excellent and detailed treatise on this matter.

  3. igbi says:

    the french priest has just been released, france thanks biya. So that should mean biya gave money and equipment to boko haram. To me that is a declaration of war, and this is the second time biya is doing this.

  4. rka says:

    I am glad that officers with specialist training/skills will be retained in order to pass on their knowledge. What was happening before with compulsory retirements was criminal in my view.

  5. ifiok umoeka says:

    Agree with u oga Rka, retaining them is not only smart but useful. As per the n0.s of troops, except we want all of them to be infantry then I suggest we finish with the business of properly training, equipping and paying the ones we have then we increase their n0.s

  6. jimmy says:

    There are two topics I would like to touch on if the CDS is retiring and I am privy to some information that this may be possible. Then it is hoped that the current COAS will hopefully be considered and eventually appointed the new CDS. The current COAS has served in this position for close to 3 1/2 years no one can really say a bad word about him. He has been tough and also fair minded. Under him we have seen the formation of a brand new division, rehabilitation of Army BARRACKS, acquisition of land for new Battalions, New COIN SF battalions have been formed, and has openly campaigned for more funds for the ARMY.
    Topic #2 involves the army size right now in counting the new ten BATTALIONS ( 8000+ MEN) the remaining Divisions auxiliary army personnel. The army is conservatively @ 105- 110,000 men.One cannot sacrifice quality over quantity or else we get the Mali scenario whereby troops led by their senior OFFICERS will constantly surrender.Expansion of the army should be a gradual thing I personally favor a fleshing out to 150,000 contained in the six divisions for the next five years and then just as gradually a reserve division made up of weekend warriors of15,000 after that to bring it to 165- 170,000 five years from that.This has to be a gradual process 300,000 is unrealistic, unless we have a more security conscious political leadership.

  7. Yagazie says:

    Oga Jimmy, point noted- however I still feel that with our population and material wealth, we can easily expand the army to 300,000 men without sacrificing quality. It’s a question of having the political will and a leadership with a ‘clued up’ Finance Minister who realises the importance of having such a well funded millitary.

    Given our strategic and economic position on the African Continent, our army should be in a position where it is capable of deploying men and .equipment abroad for at keast 3 peace enforcement (forget peacekeeping) operations, whilst retaining the ability to deal with any internal security problems at home (if needs be) without being unduly stretched. Of course this should be done over an extended period of time – but it is possible. .

    • Are James says:

      We had 250,000 men under arms in the early 70s.Though costly to maintain, capital expenditure for weapon acquisition was still relatively well covered and some of the best training in the world was provided to officers.
      Egypt’s army is 450000 men to a population of just 85 million and a national GDP that is currently less than ours and compared with Nigeria’s current multi-theatre security challenges; BH, Gulf of Guinea, Bakassi, ND Oil theft and Ethnic militias, Egypt’s armed forces has been largely unchallenged until recently.
      A large military would also be a social pressure relief mechanism soaking up, re-directing and constructively managing the energy of the most violent of the youth.
      So the case can be made for having more men in uniform.

  8. peccavi says:

    What do you want to do with a 300,000 man army? When there no insurgencies or wars what will they do?
    After capital costs of training and equipping you have legacy costs of pensions and medical care.
    Our biggest threats our internal so we do not need a large army but a large police force and militarised police force i.e. and expanded and improved MOPOL that is trained to basic army standards.
    I would hazard our Regular army is good where it is.
    But to be able to generate numbers without the capital expenditure we get an expanded Reserve components using an expanded NYSC open to all 18-25 year olds graduates and non graduates.
    Graduate Youth Corpers will do their normal 1 year but given the option of short term commissions. Non graduates will be given the option of joining the Customs, Police, MOPOL, Army, Air Force or Navy Reserve for 18 months
    Advantages: it takes a huge amount of unemployed youth out of the jobs pool for 18 months, giving them pay, skills and 18 months of nationalist indoctrination.
    Once they finish National Service there is no pension obligation
    The National Service troops can be used to backfill regular troops in quiet parts of the country
    The National Service troops can be called back every years for refresher training, leaving a constant cadre of semi trained troops in case of emergencys
    For example if there is a crisis, insurgency, invasion etc not only do you have the Regular force, but the national service people, and then the previous National Service intakes can be called up given refresher training and thrown into the mix.
    Much like NYSC and Unity schools it will give Nigerians who never normally mix a chance to see the average Northerner, Easterner, Westerner etc is not the devil on 2 feet.
    We need to reduce the number of generals and colonels but try and retain quality by pushing those who don’t quite make the cut to the reserve element
    Focus on better training and assets for the Regular Army, Navy and Air Force which then becomes a corps d’elite

    • igbi says:

      With all due respect, I will never understand you. Why hire more policemen and give them military training instead of hiring more soldiers ? I don’t get the rationale of that thinking.

      Besides we already have the biggest police force in Africa. Although I like some of your ideas in this write up.

    • igbi says:

      But we could still explore the idea of militarizing the entire police force and chasing out all its notoriously corrupt members. And we could select the best 50000 men in the police and give them special forces training and then they would be policemen who could be called upon by the army in emergencies. I think it is very important that we have a more capable military. Do you think it is wise to give military training to every young man and let them go after 18 months ? in a country plagued with poverty and armed rubbers and ethnic biggots ? The best solution is to increase the number of personnel of the army.

    • doziex says:

      I bow for oga peccavi, why does UK need a large armed force ?

      In your opinion, nigeria might as well have no military.

      Problems in africa are multiplying exponentially, and you are worried about a scenario where an enlarged NA would have nothing to do.

      Even if all our problems are solved, why can’t we just be on guard like brazil, india, us, uk, etc.

      Chance favors the prepared one.
      A stich in time saves nine.
      Etc. Etc. Etc.

      There is nothing wrong with nigeria investing in a military large enough to stabilize our neighborhood and enhance our national prestige.

  9. Wielding rifles as if they fired one single shot to get the man released. Can somebody please interprete what the priest was saying?

  10. ifiok umoeka says:

    Egypt has that no because of Israel! I though we all know that! More over, the US pays the bill! India has Pakistan and more importantly China to contend! How many time over is Brazil’s size compared to us? As for the UK, they are actually trim when u compare them now to say 10- 20 yrs ago.
    We were 250k as a result of the no victor no vanquish policy of Gowon (bless him) but we all agreed that we couldn’t maintain that no and expect them to meet the requirement when called up!
    I still maintain that we lead,train and equip our boys well and pls security shouldn’t be an employment policy, it should be for security. I get saddened when people the world over arrive @ a consensus of what the right step is and we jettison it and waste time and resourses only to get back to square 1!
    U can’t replay the police with the military, haba! I don’t know what 2 say again’o! If we need a 300k man military it should be because we need it not because India or Libya has it! Na wa’o. India has a $20-30bn defence budget, why don’t we try and match that!

    • doziex says:

      I agree, our preferred force structure and size, would drive the size of the budget.

      Nigeria must make up its mind, to have the clout and influence we seem to crave, we must back it up with a credible military.
      No one will allow us influence we dont deserve. As we discovered in mali.

  11. ifiok umoeka says:

    Meant replace the police with the military!

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