By Sunday Oyinloye
Nigeria’s new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru is a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, and Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji. He commenced cadets training in January 1984 and was commissioned in the rank of Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.
Born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State, General Attahiru has held several appointments on the staff, instructional and in command in the course of his military career.
He had a tour of duty with the United Nations in Sierra Leone as a Military Observer, where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement, Operation BARASS in September 2000.
The new Chief of Army Staff has served meritoriously within and outside Nigeria. General Attahiru was an Operations Officer and later Company Commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG Operations in Liberia. He had the unique privilege of having commanded with distinction all through the chain of command in the Nigerian Army, prominent among these appointments are; Commanding Officer 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation HARMONY IV) in the Bakassi Peninsula, Commander 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation PULO SHIELD), General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army.
General Attahiru was one time Theatre Commander Operation LAFIA DOLE (the Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Outfit in North Eastern Nigeria). It is on record that he brought relative stability to the region with the surrender of several Boko Haram combatants.
He was unit Adjutant, 7 Battalion Nigerian Army, Sarti, Chief of Staff, 1 Brigade Nigerian Army, Sokoto, General Staff Officer Grade 1 Training/Operations and as well as Staff Duties/Plans at the Headquarters 1, 2 and 81 Divisions of the Nigerian Army.
General Attahiru was Deputy Director Military Secretary 2 at the AHQ MS (A) and one-time Director Army Public Relations and Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army. He was later Director Staff Duties and Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans at the Army Headquarters.
He was equally privileged to serve as Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation and Chief of Defence Logistics at the apex organ of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Defence Headquarters Abuja. In that position he worked with the US Defence Logistics Agency on the Vertically Integrated Logistics Approach (VILA) Programme towards enhancing the operational readiness in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
On the Instructional, the new Chief of Army Staff was privileged to be an Instructor at the Depot Nigerian Army, Nigerian Defence Academy and the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He was later a Directing Staff and Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji.
General Attahiru has been exposed to leadership and professional development programmes at globally renowned institutions. He was at the National Defence College Kenya for the National Defence Management and Security Studies Course and at the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army Special Forces Academy Shijiazhuang-Hubei Province, China for the Basic and Advanced Special/Operations Commando Forces Courses.
He also had leadership and security policy courses at the prestigious Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University USA, Graduate School of Media and Communication, Agha Khan University Kenya, Bournemouth University Disaster Management Center and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.
General Attahiru has several honours and awards to his credit. He is a highly decorated officer with UNAMSIL Medal, ECOMOG Medal, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguish Service Star, Grand Service Star, Corps Medal of Honour, Command Medal, Field Command Medal, and Field Command Medal of Honour.
He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University in the United Kingdom, and Graduate Diploma in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.