Lt. Gen. Buratai, Nigeria’s army chief
The Nigerian Army has announced yet another set of postings which centred largely around the Boko Haram war in the North-east.
The reshuffle, which took effect from August 14, comes amidst pressure on the military to end the 10-year insurgency that has cost the nation much hardship in human and asset toll.
According to official details seen by PREMIUM TIMES, top officers affected in the latest exercise include Bulama Biu, a major-general and commander of the Boko Haram war.
He was immediately replaced by AK Ibrahim, a brigadier-general who was transferred from the Army Headquarters to 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri. Mr Ibrahim was made the theatre commander of Sector 1 Operation Lafiya Dole and acting-general officer commanding (GOC) of 7 Division, the main formation overseeing the Boko Haram war.
Mr Biu has now been transferred to Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole and Sector 3 Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to act as commander for both units.
The removal of Mr Biu as the GOC of 7 Division and theatre commander of Operation Lafiya Dole comes two weeks after PREMIUM TIMES reported that he threw a lavish party in the wake of the killing of a colonel, a captain and five other soldiers by insurgents.
Mr Biu’s action raised serious concerns amongst military officers and security analysts, who largely saw it as insensitive towards the families of the fallen heroes and demoralising for other uniformed men still risking their lives to chase away terrorists from Nigerian borders.
Mr Biu was appointed as the GOC of 7 Division and head of Boko Haram war in May 2018, and President Muhammadu Buhari gave him accelerated promotion as a major-general only last month.
The president cited the general’s “extraordinary feats, exemplary leadership, commitment and valour” for the recognition. It was also last month that Mr Biu was made the substantive GOC of 7 Division, having led the war in acting capacity for over a year.
It was not immediately clear whether the Nigerian Army considered other operational and moral lapses against Mr Biu before removing him from the top job.
A spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa, did not return calls seeking comments about the postings.
Others affected by the reshuffle, which appeared the first to affect the Boko Haram war since February, included BA Akinroluyo, who was moved from theatre command headquarters Operation Lafiya Dole to training and doctrine headquarters, Minna, for deployment.
Another major-general, CG Musa, was sent from Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole to training and doctrine headquarters, Minna, for deployment. O Adeniyi was asked to remain in theatre command headquarters and appointed theatre commander.
The army sent IA Ajose, a colonel, from 5 Brigade headquarters to training and doctrine headquarters, Minna, for deployment. OA Awolo, a colonel, was transferred from 707 Special Forces Brigade to 5 Brigade Headquarters and appointed acting commander there.
From Nigerian Defence Academy, AS Bugaje, a colonel, was transferred to 707 Special Forces Brigade as its new commander. (Premium Times)