President Muhammadu Buhari has fired all Nigeria’s military chiefs as a multinational army prepares for a fresh onslaught against the West African nation’s Islamic extremists.
It was an expected development since Buhari, a former military dictator who was elected in March, has severely criticized the Nigerian military’s failure to defeat the Islamic extremists operating mainly in the northeast.
Jonathan had been accused of being partisan in naming Christians to all but one of the positions in the armed forces traditionally dominated by Muslims. Nigeria is divided almost equally between Muslims who predominate in the north and Christians in the south.
Buhari’s announcement on Monday was more even-handed.
Both the new army chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and the national security adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, are from northeastern Borno state which is the birthplace of Boko Haram.
Defense chief Maj. Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin and navy chief Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas are from the south. The chief of defense intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday Riku, is from the Middle Belt and the chief of air staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is from northeastern Bauchi state.