On Monday, newly appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Farouk Yahaya, held his maiden meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He had earlier met separately with the Minister of Defence, General Bashir Magashi, Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Chief of the Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo, and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, to promote collaboration in military operation for effectiveness.
General Yahaya also met with Principal Staff Officers and Field Commanders of the Nigerian Army (NA), unveiling his vision which is building “A Professional Nigerian Army Ready to Accomplish Assigned Missions Within a Joint Environment in Defence of Nigeria.”
General Farouk Yahaya was appointed on May 27, 2021, and he assumed Command as the 22nd COAS, the next day at the Army headquarters, Abuja.
He replaced Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, who died alongside 10 other military officers in a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft crash on the evening of Friday, May 21, 2021, while landing at the Kaduna International Airport. They were buried in line with military tradition on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding his coming to office, Nigerians have welcomed him with open arms and have expressed great hope and confidence in him. General Attahiru, his predecessor, though only a few months in office, showed promise. He exuded courage and will to combat the insecurity crisis bedevilling the nation. In that light, Nigerians expect a lot from the new COAS and he cannot afford to fail. They expect him to hit the ground running and fill the gap which Attahiru’s death has created. General Yahaya is therefore assuming office at a very auspicious time in the nation’s history and his job is cut out for him. Luckily, he is not new to the challenges facing Nigeria in terms of Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorism or the banditry in North-West.
After all, prior to his appointment as COAS, General Yahaya was first the GOC 1 Division of the Nigerian Army before becoming Theatre Commander of the Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency military outfit in the North East, code-named Operation HADIN KAI.
With these credentials, Nigerians are expecting nothing short of an end to the insecurity crisis in the country. At the moment, insecurity has engulfed the entire country and no region is spared. Sadly, while the nation battles certain crimes, new frontiers open up as seen in the new spate of attacks in the South-East.
Right now, the military is fighting Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the North-East, banditry across North-West and North-Central regions, kidnappings across the entire country, farmers-herders conflict and secessionists’ violence in the South-East, South-West and South-South. On a daily basis, killings occur across the country and this has to stop. The new COAS must harness all available resources towards that direction.
He must do his best towards changing the narrative and operational fortunes in Nigeria’s fight against insecurity.
There have been reports that rivalry among the services is affecting the fight against insecurity. That is something General Yahaya needs to tackle to ensure that all services work together for the good of Nigerians. He has started well by visiting the heads of the services, but we want the collaboration to translate to successes in the battle against enemies of the state.
We also call on the new COAS to take the welfare of his officers and men seriously, with special attention to families of those who were killed in the battle front, as that is the only way to boost morale and encourage the operatives to continue to serve the country.
The COAS needs the cooperation of stakeholders as well in the area of providing needed tools to fight the battles. We call on all Nigerians to give the military operatives their support and continue to pray for them as they work daily to secure the country from internal and external forces.