It’s customary for Nigerian presidents to retire security chiefs when they assume office, and yesterday was no different with President Tinubu. On June 19, 2023, the Presidency announced the immediate retirement of all service chiefs and the inspector-general of police.
However, new appointments have been made to fill these positions, and in this article, you’ll get to know the new Service Chiefs—consider this a brief profile of them.
Major Gen. Christopher Gwawin Musa, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
Major Gen. Musa hails from Zangon Kataf, Kaduna state, and was born on December 25, 1967. He’s a member of the 38th Regular Course from the National Defence Academy (NDA) and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps in September 1991 as a Second Lieutenant.
Nigeria’s new Chief of Defence Staff also has an Advanced Diploma in Strategic Management from the University of Lagos and a Master’s in Defence Studies from the National Defence University in Beijing, China.
Maj. Gen. Musa is no stranger to fighting terrorists and has spent more than a decade of his military career doing so. He was the General Staff Officer 1 Training/Operations at HQ 81 Division, the Commanding Officer of 73 Battalion, the Assistant Director of Operational Requirements at the Department of Army Policy and Plans, and the Infantry Representative/Member Training Team at HQ Nigerian Army Armour Corps. Additionally, he was the former Deputy Chief of Staff Training/Operations at HQ Infantry Centre and Corps, Commander of Sector 3 OP LAFIYA DOLE, and Commander of Sector 3 Multinational Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad Region.
Before being appointed the new Chief of Defence Staff, he was the Commander of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps.
Major Gen. Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
Major Gen. Lagbaja hails from Osun State and was born on February 28, 1968. He’s a member of the 39th Regular Course and was also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on September 19, 1992
Along with having a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from NDA, he also has a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Maj. Gen. Lagbaja has been involved in several military operations in the course of his military career.
Some of them are:
- Operation HARMONY IV on the Bakassi Peninsula, January 1996–June 2000
- United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004–2005
- Operation ZAKI, September 2012–July 2014
- Operation LAFIYA DOLE, December 2015–January 2018
- Operation MESA/ UDO KA, March 2021–August 2022
- Operation FOREST SANITY, August 2022 till date
Before he was appointed the COAS, he served as the General Officer Commanding Division 1, Kaduna, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, and the Chief of Operations for the Army.
Air Vice Marshal Hassan Bala Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff (CAS)
The new CAS was born on September 11, 1970, and he’s from Shanono, Kano state. He’s a NDA 39th Regular Course member and was commissioned on September 19, 1992, as a Pilot Officer.
AVM Bala Abubakar has a Bachelor’s degree from the NDA and a Master’s in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Some of the appointments previously held by the new chief of air staff include:
- Admin Officer, 16 Engineering Wing, 1 Engineering Group, NAF Makurdi
- Officer Commanding Admin Services Flight/Group Public Relations Officer, 97 Special Operations Group, NAF Port Harcourt
- Officer, Commanding ‘B’ Squadron (Do 228), 81 Air Maritime Group NAF Benin
- Aviation Planning Officer, MONUC Air Operations, Kinshasa, DRC
- Operations Officer, 88 Military Airlift Group, Ikeja, Lagos; Commanding Officer, 21 Wing 88, Military Airlift Group, Lagos
- Fleet operation officer, 011, Presidential Air Fleet
- Commander 011 Presidential Air Fleet
- Director of Policy, HQ NAF and Director of Operations, HQ NAF
- Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command and the Chief of Standards and Operations, HQ NAF
- Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command
Rear Admiral A. Emmanuel Ogalla, Chief of Naval Staff
Rear Admiral Ogalla hails from Enugu Ezike, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Enugu State. He was born on December 20, 1968, and graduated from the NDA 39th Regular Course with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. During his graduation, he was awarded the Sword of Honour as the best naval cadet in his set and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on September 16, 1992.
Rear Admiral Ogalla has a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan, and he has gone on to serve on many ships such as the NNS, EKUN, LANA, DELTA, PATHFINDER, and many more.
He was on board NNS EKUN and participated in Liberia’s Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) operations in 1996. He was also the Base Operations Officer on the NNS PATHFINDER, and during his time there, a significant drop in illegal maritime activities was recorded. Until his recent appointment, he was Director of Lessons Learnt at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja.
The new Chief of Naval Staff is also a member of the Nigerian Hydrographic Society, the Nigerian Institute of Management, the International Earth Rotation Services, and a fellow of the Occupational Safety and Health Association of the United Kingdom.
Emmanuel Akomaye Parker Undiandeye, Chief of Defence Intelligence
Emmanuel Undiandeye hails from Obudu, Cross River State. He’s part of the Intelligence Corps of the Nigerian Army and was the Commandant of the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State.
As the new Chief of Defence Intelligence, he’ll be responsible for strengthening our defence sector, ensuring military cooperation with other countries, maintaining the territorial integrity of Nigeria, and, of course, protecting the lives of citizens.
Kayode Egbetokun, Acting Inspector General of Police
Kayode Egbetokun left his lecturing role at the Yaba College of Technology and enlisted in the Nigerian Police Force on March 3, 1990, as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police.
This is not the first time he will be working with Tinubu. In 1999, he was appointed Chief Security Officer to Bola Tinubu when he served as the governor of Lagos state. Some of the other appointments held by Kayode Egbetokun are:
- Commander, Rapid Response Squad, Lagos
- Squadron Commander, Mopol 5, Benin, Benin City
- Officer-in-Charge, Anti-Fraud Unit, FCT Command, Abuja
- Commissioner of Police, Kwara state
He was also the Assistant Inspector General of Police, deployed to Zone 7, Abuja, in September 2022. He was redeployed to the Nigerian Police Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) as Deputy Inspector General of Police.
Nuhu Ribadu, National Security Officer (NSA)
For many Nigerians, Nuhu Ribadu is a household name. He’s the first executive chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and was also recently appointed as the Special Adviser on Security to the president.
Nuhu Ribadu was born on November 21, 1960, in Yola, Adamawa state. He studied Law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and was called to the bar in 1984. After his National Youth Service, he joined the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). As chairman of the EFCC, he worked tirelessly against corruption and brought many offenders to book.
The new NSA is a recipient of the Inspector General of Police Awards of 1998, 1999, and 2000. He also received a special commendation from former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005 for the successful prosecution of cases relating to fraud and other economic crimes.
As Nigeria welcomes the new service chiefs, it is expected to signal a positive shift in our security situation. With their commendable backgrounds, it is hoped that they will bring new insights to address the nation’s security issues.