05:49 pm
24 October 2016

Buhari fires Nigeria’s military chiefs as fight against Boko Haram intensifies

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has sacked his army, navy, air force and defence chiefs in a move widely anticipated as the former general has made crushing Boko Haram his top priority.

A spokesman for the presidency said replacements would be announced later on Monday.

Since his inauguration in May, Buhari has moved Nigeria’s defence command centre to Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, and is setting up the headquarters for a multinational joint taskforce in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.

In June, Amnesty International accused Nigeria’s military of systematic human rights abuses and the deaths of 8,000 prisoners and called for an investigation into many top military officials, including the army and air force chiefs.

The country’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, was heavily criticised for his inability to deal with the six-year insurgency in the north-east of Africa’s biggest oil producer, which has killed as many as 13,000 and displaced 1.5 million people.

Army morale hit an all-time low under Jonathan and it was not until the start of 2015 that the militants were finally pushed out of most areas with the help of foreign mercenaries, troops from neighbouring countries and new equipment.
But Nigerians saw Jonathan’s victories as too little, too late.

The spokesman named the sacked officers as Air Marshal Alex Badeh, Maj Gen Kenneth Minimah, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu.