What you need to find out about Fortunate Irabor, Nigeria’s new Chief of Workers of Protection
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday appointed Major General of the Army, Lucky Irabor, as the new Chief of Staff of Defense following the resignation of former chiefs of service.
The position of defense chief is usually occupied by a four-star general.
President Buhari made the surprising announcement after years of defending his refusal to change the chiefs of service he appointed in 2015 who had long passed the retirement age for the civil service.
Nigerians attributed the security forces’ reversals in the war against the Boko Haram uprising in the northeast to Mr Buhari’s refusal to realign the military command and bring in new hands.
The former service chiefs had previously promised to end the Boko Haram war this year.
In January 2017, as theater commander in the military campaign against the insurrection, Mr. Irabor distinguished himself as an honest officer when he convened a press conference to authorize the mistaken bombing of an IDP camp in the village of Rann in the Kala Balge region of Borno State.
He said the military believed the camp was a terrorist hideout. The incident resulted in the deaths of many displaced persons.
“We got a coordinate and I ordered the Air Force to address the problem.
“Unfortunately the strike took place, but it turned out that the locals somewhere in Rann were affected,” he said at the press conference.
His proactive move to make the incident public before journalists knew about it and his honest disclosure had helped the government deal with the crisis.
He also won the respect of many Nigerians for taking responsibility for the actions of his troops.
A statement signed Tuesday by President Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina announced the “resignations” of the four chiefs of service and the appointment of Mr. Irabor. He takes up his post together with new chiefs of service for the army, navy and air force.
Mr Irabor was appointed commander of the multinational joint task force in 2017 after serving as theater commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in northeastern Nigeria.
After serving at the MNJTF, Mr. Irabor became Chief of Training and Operations at Defense Headquarters.
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He later served as Commander in Training and Doctrine (TRADOC) Minna, where his predecessor served as Chief of Defense Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, before he was appointed CDS.
Mr. Irabor, from Delta State, is a regular Course 34 officer and was promoted to major general in 2014.
He is an alumnus of the Ghana Armed Forces Staff College Ghana, the National Defense College Bangladesh and the Executive Program of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA.
Mr. Irabor has a first degree in engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife and two Masters degrees from the University of Ghana in Accra and the Bangladesh University of Professionals in Dhaka.
He has received several awards and medals for the military, ECOMOG and the United Nations.
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