Newly Appointed Service Chiefs Plan Massive Changes

There are strong indications that the newly appointed service chiefs will embark on a far reaching reorganisation within the three services of the Armed Forces.

Security personnel, who confided in one of our correspondents on Friday, said that the changes might come not later than the next one week.

The new service chiefs are Chief of Defence Staff, Maj.Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin; Chief of Army Staff, Maj.Gen. T.Y. Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

It was learnt that there had been apprehension in the military since the announcement of the change in leadership in the military in Monday.

It was gathered that the appointments had elicited mixed reactions from military personnel especially the officers cadre because some officers who did not ‘have juicy appointments’ are expecting better postings while those in such positions are looking forward to retaining them.

It was further learnt that the new chiefs would not delay in effecting the expected changes because of the need to put together a team of senior military officers to pursue their respective visions for the three services.

The changes, it was gathered, would affect the various General Officers Commanding, the Air Officers Commanding, and the Flag Officer Commanding of the services.

It was further learnt that the shake-up would also affect Directors, field commanders and others occupying strategic positions in the services.

The source said, “It is not only about a directive to reposition the military. When there is a change in command, this must happen. It would not be delayed and should not be later than a week.

“There must be major changes involving the GCOS, commanders, commandant of tri-service formations, air officers, and flag officers commanding in the next one week.

“The new chiefs are not supposed to waste time. They must work with their loyalists.

“Naturally, some very senior officers in the same course with the service chiefs would go with them while chances would be created for others in the tri-service institutions.

“All those who are leaving must be replaced; there can’t be a vacuum, posting must come.”

Another source, who spoke on the issue, said that the expected changes were inevitable.

The source stated that it was the norm in the military for the service chiefs to appoint their loyalists, reshuffle officers just the same way the President replaced the service chiefs he inherited from Jonathan.

Investigations showed that the Nigerian Army headquarters’ 11 departments and six divisions will be affected by the impending shake-up.

These are the Directorate of Army Policy and Plans: Directorate of Army Training and Operations; Directorate of Army logistics; Directorate of Army Administration; Directorate of Army Standards and Evaluation; and the Directorate of Civil Military Affairs.

Other departments of the Army to be affected are: Directorate of Nigerian Army Welfare Limited/GTE; Army Transformation and Innovation Centre; Nigerian Army Military Secretary; Legal Service; and the Directorate of Army Public Relations.

The Army divisions that may be affected are 1 Division; 2 Division; 3 Division; 81 Division; 82 Division; and 7 Division.

Also to be affected are the seven service headquarters of the Nigerian Air Force, its four commands and 13 Direct Reporting Units.

The seven branches of the service headquarters are: Policy; Operations; Engineering; Log and Comms; Administration, Evaluation and Air Secretary.

The Commands of the Nigerian Air Force that may be affected by the shake-up are: Tactical Air Command; Mobility Command; Training Command; and Logistics Command.

The DRUs, by virtue of their functions, report directly to NAF Headquarters.

The units are: Nigerian Air Force Holding Company; Air Force Institute of Technology; National Air Defence Corp; Presidential Air Fleet (101 PAF); Aeromedical Centre (102 AMC); Pay and Accounting (103 PAG); Pesonnel Management Group (104 PMG); and NAF Camp Abuja (106 NAF Camp Abuja).

Others are: NAF Camp Abuja (107 NAF Camp Lagos); NAF Hospital Abuja (108 NAFH); Special Investigation Group (109 SIG); Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Ltd (AETSL); and Quick Response Force (QRF).

For the Nigerian navy, its eight Command Headquarters are also expected to be affected by the shake-up. The naval command structure involves the Naval Headquarters; the Western Naval Command; the Eastern Naval Command; Central Naval Command; and the Naval Training Command.

Others are the Logistics Command, the Autonomous Command and the NN Air Arm.

Reacting to the planned shake-up, a former Director of Procurement in the Defence Headquarters and a Fellow of War College, Brig.-Gen. Ayodele Ojo, described it as normal. He said the new service chiefs would naturally want to bring in people they think could do the job.

He said, “It is customary that when new service chiefs are appointed, it is usually followed with changes down the line particularly at the top echelon.

“The new service chiefs will want to bring on board officers of like mind that will be able to implement and carry out their operational and strategic directives. That explains why it is necessary to effect changes at the top level of command.

“Similarly, for effective command and control by the service chiefs, it is expected that all officers senior to them are supposed to go on voluntary retirement. In the case of the Army, all officers of Regular 28 and above and their equivalent counterparts should proceed on retirement.”

A security analyst, Ben Okezie, asked the new Chief of Army Staff, to restore discipline and restructure the army, noting that indiscipline had eaten deep into the armed forces.

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