The Nigerian number one citizen, President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a new Chief of Army Staff. He is Major General Farouk Yahaya
It should be noted that recently, 11 Nigerian military officers, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru died on Friday when a Beechcraft KingAir B350i billed to land at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Mando, Kaduna crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.
Their remains were buried at the national military cemetery in the federal capital territory (FCT) on Saturday.
To replace Attahiru, President Buhari has appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
The announcement was made by the Defense Headquarters in a tweet on Thursday.
“Prior to his appointment Major General Yahaya was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the incumbent Theater Commander of the Counter-terrorism Counter-insurgency military outfit in the North East code named Operation HADIN KAI,” according to the statement by the Defense Headquarters.
Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan had earlier called on President Muhammadu Buhari to consider replacing the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, with an Igbo military officer.
According to Reno, this move will help cease the fight of secessionists.
The former presidential aide also called on the president to visit an Igbo state and encourage a major party to consider an Igbo presidential candidate.
Omokri wrote; ”The best way to fight the rise of secessionists in the Southeast is not with guns, bullets and helicopter gunships. Give them development. Stop your nepotism. Be fair and balanced in your appointments. Consider an Igbo man to replace General Attahiru. Abandon the 97% versus 5% mentality. Lose your Igbophobia.
“Visit each Igbo state (Buhari has not visited Igboland since the 2019 election). Make Igbo monarchs pro-chancellors of federal universities in Northern Nigeria. Genuinely pursue an extra state for the Southeast in the Constitutional Reform process, so they are equal with other geopolitical zones. Encourage a major political party to consider an Igbo Presidential candidate. Embrace Igbos and Igbos will embrace Nigeria”
The death of the 11 officers in the Friday’s crash has increased the number of military personnel, who died in crashes involving NAF aircraft, to 33 in six years, according to The PUNCH, and during the period, the newspaper added, the Nigerian military lost 11 aircraft to crashes.
On February 21, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport after reporting engine failure en route Minna. Seven crew members on board the jet died while in March, a NAF Alpha-Jet aircraft crashed in Borno.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force has assured Nigerians that investigations into latest crash and other recent ones would be transparent and the public carried along every step of the way.
Edward Gabkwet, the NAF spokesman, said in an interview reported by The PUNCH that the force is awaiting the outcome of probe into the incident as being conducted by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and would take necessary actions based on it including whether to ban the use of the Beechcraft KingAir aircraft.
Gabkwet said, “We want to be as transparent as possible. Nigerians will be fully informed about the outcome of the investigation. We are going to have a joint press conference with the AIB and make sure everybody gets the outcome of this investigation.
“In the meantime, we are not rushing into taking certain decision that would hamper our own operations. Mind you, we still have operations ongoing. We must be careful about the kind of action we take. We should not take our eyes off the ball, we must remain focused in whatever we are doing, not take rash decisions just to please few critics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. No, we won’t do that.”
Continuing, the spokesman explained that the two Beechcraft aircraft that crashed were different series, noting that the one which crashed in Abuja in March was configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance while the Beechcraft involved in Friday’s crash in Kaduna was a passenger aircraft.
Investigations reveal that the NAF has a number of Chinese Chengdu F-7s, JF-17 Thunder Multirole Fighter jets, 13 Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, helicopter gunships, armed attack drones and military transport aircraft.
“You have to understand; a lot of things go into the grounding of an entire fleet of aircraft. One thing that can make us ground them is based on the recommendation of the board (of inquiry). We have been using that (Beechcraft) aircraft for almost 10 years and we have had just two crashes of that aircraft, then we ground it; then, we are not been fair to ourselves. It has been the most reliable transport aircraft we had until this accident.
‘’So, going to ground it is too swift and the Accident Investigation Bureau and the Nigerian Air Force are working hand-in-hand to make sure they come out with something all Nigerians will see and that’s why we are involving the AIB in this investigation.”