Nigeria’s new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Attahiru Ibrahim, is not a stranger to the concerted effort to end the Boko Haram insurgency and banditry. He was in the thick of the action as the commander of the operations to decimate and exterminate the insurgents in the first half of the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, a period now regarded as the golden era when significant progress was made against the insurgents. In 2017, Major General Ibrahim was redeployed as General Officer Commanding (GOC) in charge of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army.
Now in the saddle as Nigeria’s Army Chief, the new COAS will bring his extensive experience to bear in the quest by the military to end the Boko Haram insurgency once and for all. Counter insurgency experts who are familiar with the General’s strategem are already projecting that the days of Boko Haram insurgents are numbered with the fresh onslaught launched by the new service chiefs appointed on Tuesday, 26th January, 2021. The 54-year-old Major General Ibrahim, a member of Course 35 of the Nigerian Defence Academy, is a Generals’ General. Upon his appointment as the COAS, he hit the ground running and recently visited ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ troops to boost their morale. He interacted with the officers and men, most of whom he had relationships with before his appointment.
A staunch believer in the maxim, “united we stand, divided we fall”, the new COAS has given fillip to synergy amongst the Armed Forces with his humble disposition as a team player. It is a given that the welfare of the troops will receive a big boost under his command as attested to by the jubilation that greeted his appointment in the Army. During his visit to the troops, he announced an international partnership with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic. He is determined to end the Boko Haram insurgency, using multi- pronged military operations.
The Army Chief has also signalled his intention to give training and manpower development a pride of place during his tenure as deduced from the partnership struck by the military with the University of Ilorin. As General Attahiru Ibrahim marches on in the service of his fatherland, the gentleman officer is pushing for the Army, Air Force and Navy to work collaboratively and support each other to put an end to the protracted insurgency. His philosophy is that no single arm of the Armed Forces can singularly trounce the recalcitrant insurgents.
This is a breath of fresh air. It has all the trappings to be a game changer in the battle to defeat Boko Haram for real!
Already, his strategy has started yielding bountiful dividends. Just recently, news broke that courageous Nigerian troops overran the farm of the outlaw and Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in Sambisa Forest.
Another report said Nigerian troops repelled a surprise attack by the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP). Following the orders of the COAS recently gallant troops reclaimed some occupied territories.
All these reports are clear signs that the Nigerian military has restrategised for victory, hoping that unlike in previous efforts, they would not lose steam this time around.
- Lawal writes in from Abeokuta.
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