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Nigeria’s Chiefs Of Army Staff Since Return To Democracy

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Farouk Yahaya

The sad death of Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru in an air crash last Friday and the subsequent appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya bring the nation’s Chiefs of Army Staff to 11 since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.

The Chief of Army Staff position is occupied by a high-ranking military officer of the Nigerian Army, specifically a senior commissioned officer appointed by the President. The COAS is charged with formulating and executing policies that ensure national security.

The COAS reports to the Chief of Defence Staff, who, also, reports to the Defence Minister, who then reports directly to the President.

Below is a list of the eleven Chiefs of Army Staff that the country has had since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

1. Lieutenant-General Victor Malu — he took office in May 1999 and left office in April 2001, serving for one year and 11 months.

2. Lieutenant-General Alexander Ogomudia — he took office in April 2001 and left office in June 2003, serving for two years and two months.

3. Lieutenant-General Martin Agwai — he took office in June 2003 and left office in June 2006, serving for three years.

4. Lieutenant-General Owoye Azazi — he took office in June 2006 and left office in May 2007, serving for 11 months.

5. Lieutenant-General Luka Yusuf — he took office in June 2007 and left office in August 2008, serving for one year and 3 months.

6. Lieutenant-General Bello Pambazau — he took office in August 2008 and left in September 2010, serving for two years and one month.

7. Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika — he took office in September 2010 and left in January 2014, serving for three years and four months.

8. Lieutenant-General Kenneth Minimah — he took office in January 2014 and left in July 2015, serving for one year and six months.

9. Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai — he took office in July 2015 and left on January 26, 2021, serving for five years and six months. He is the longest-serving COAS since the nation’s Fourth Republic.

10. Lieutenant-General Attahiru Ibrahim — he took office in January 2021 and died in an aircraft accident on May 21, 2021, serving for just three months. His tragic death made him the COAS with the shortest stay in office since 1999.

11. Major-General Farouk Yahaya — he took office in May 2021 and is currently serving as the COAS. Prior to his appointment, Yahaya was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the theatre commander of a military counter-terrorism unit in the North East.

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