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Tinubu’s Security Overhaul: New Appointments and Customs Shake-Up Signal a Fresh Approach

President Bola Tinubu made significant changes to Nigeria’s security apparatus, announcing the retirement of all service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, in a major shake-up on Monday. The President also affected special advisers and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service. These changes were communicated in a statement by Willie Bassey, the Director of Information at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.Among the key appointments, Major General Christopher Musa, a former Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, replaced General Lucky Irabor as the Chief of Defence Staff. Major General Taoreed Lagbaja assumed the role of Chief of Army Staff, succeeding Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya.Air Vice Marshal H.B Abubakar was named the Chief of Air Staff, replacing Air Marshal Oludayo Amao, while Rear Admiral E. A Ogalla took over from Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo as the Chief of Naval Staff.Notably, Nuhu Ribadu, who was recently appointed as the Security Adviser to the President, was further elevated to the position of National Security Adviser, succeeding Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), who had been appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2015.In addition to these appointments, several military officers were assigned roles in the Presidential Villa. The President also named Adeniyi Adewale as the acting Comptroller General of Customs, replacing the former CG, Hamid Ali.President Tinubu’s decision to revamp the security apparatus follows a surge in banditry, kidnapping, oil theft, and violent crimes during the tenure of the retired service chiefs. The SBM Intelligence report revealed that between January 2021 and June 2023, over 15,031 individuals, including security operatives, lost their lives due to these incidents. Amnesty International reported that more than 120 Nigerians have been killed by bandits and criminals since Tinubu assumed office on May 29.Security experts have expressed optimism regarding the appointments of the new service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, praising the President’s selection of experienced individuals who possess a strong track record in addressing insecurity. They believe that these new leaders are capable of steering the security agencies towards combating insurgency and reducing high-level criminal activities in the country.Observers have noted that the change in service chiefs was anticipated as President Tinubu seeks to implement his own programs and initiatives. As a new administration takes office, the President is expected to rely on the expertise and capabilities of these newly appointed officials to advance his security agenda.The removal of the Controller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali, has been applauded by clearing agents operating in Nigeria’s maritime domain. The move is regarded as one of President Tinubu’s most commendable decisions thus far. Critics of Ali argue that he lacked the necessary training and expertise to hold the position, emphasizing the need for an investigation into his tenure. The agents also called for the reorganization of the Customs service and expressed hope that the President’s actions would lead to positive changes in the sector.


Ademola Adeyemi

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