On Monday, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu made significant changes to the country’s defence forces, resulting in the replacement of the security chiefs and the head of the police force. These changes come less than a month after Tinubu assumed office.
Since his inauguration on May 29, Tinubu has prioritized addressing security challenges and has promised reforms in the sector. These reforms include increasing the recruitment of soldiers and police officers, as well as improving their remuneration and equipment.
Nigeria’s military is currently facing the ongoing challenge of an Islamist insurgency in the northeast and widespread incidents of banditry and kidnappings for ransom across the country.
It is a common practice for new Nigerian presidents to replace security chiefs early in their tenure, and Tinubu followed this tradition on Monday. He appointed Nuhu Ribadu, a former senior police officer and former head of the country’s economic and financial crimes agency, as his National Security Adviser.
Major General Christopher Musa, who previously led the army’s fight against the insurgency, has been appointed as the new Chief of Defence Staff, replacing Lucky Irabor.
Musa assumes leadership of the military following a Reuters report last year, which alleged that the Nigerian Army had operated a clandestine and illegal abortion program targeting women and girls who had been kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants. Musa has vehemently denied the existence of such a program and accused Reuters of attempting to undermine Nigeria’s fight against the insurgents.
In addition to the changes in security leadership, Tinubu also announced new commanders for the army, navy, and air force, as well as a new head of the Nigeria Customs Service, with immediate effect.