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I’m Leaving The Army Better Than I Met It – Outgoing COAS

The outgoing COAS asked them not to be distracted by some unpatriotic elements, but to always be apolitical and professional.


The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, hands over the army flag to the new COAS, Major General Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja on June 23, 2023.

 

The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, said on Friday that the Boko Haram insurgency was at its peak when he assumed office in 2021, but he is leaving it better than he met it.

Yahaya was appointed army chief by former President Muhammadu Buhari on May 27, 2021, after the tragic death of Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in an air crash alongside 10 other officers and men of the army on May 21.

READ ALSO: Yahaya Set To Hand Over To Lagbaja As Army Chief

Before he was appointed army chief, he was the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the counter-insurgency operation in the Northeast.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, Yahaya urged the army to sustain the ongoing gains over various security threats, including terrorists, bandits, and crude oil thieves.

The outgoing COAS asked them not to be distracted by what he described as some unpatriotic elements, but to always be apolitical and professional.

In his remarks, the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, stated that the Army had witnessed unprecedented prudent management of resources and procurement of military hardware under his predecessor.

He promised to improve on the legacy of his predecessor, urging those who are disengaging from service not to deny the Nigerian Army the opportunity to tap from their experiences whenever the need calls for it.

The new COAS promised to run an army that will be driven by discipline and professionalism.

Also in attendance at the event were senior military officers and heads of various departments within the army.

Lagbaja is the 23rd Chief of Army Staff.

Background

Yahaya was appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari on May 27, 2021.

His appointment came days after his predecessor, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, passed away in a May 21, 2021 air crash, along with 10 other military officials.

The incident occurred near the Kaduna International Airport around 6 pm, while it was raining heavily. The officers apparently were on their way to Kaduna ahead of a passing out parade of soldiers from the Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria.

Prior to the crash, an Air Force jet supporting ground troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists went missing in north-east Borno in March 2021.

Also, in February 2021, seven officials died after a military plane crashed in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

At the time of Yahaya’s appointment, the country was enmeshed in several security challenges, including but not limited to an insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, secessionist agitations in the South-East, and Fulani-herdsmen crises across the Middle Belt and several South-West states.