A fresh crisis is rocking President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice as Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, a former Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, who was reportedly removed by the Nigerian Army High Command for failing to stop Boko Haram in 2017 barely seven months in office.
According to a BBC report in 2017, the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai, had given Attahiru 40 days to capture Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, dead or alive. Rather than heed the order, Boko Haram’s activities and onslaught prospered under Attahiru and he was removed without any posting.
Attahiru’s tenure as theatre commander was characterised by several failures and a spike in terrorist attacks.
In May 2017, Attahiru took over the theatre command from Major General Lucky Irabor who is now the Chief of Defence Staff. However, suicide bombings and attacks on military formations increased drastically.
The month after, a group of geologists and technologists from the University of Maiduguri were ambushed by Boko Haram insurgents at Magumeri area of Borno state. About 12 soldiers who escorted the academics were reportedly killed.
Boko Haram, using four female suicide bombers, attacked Muna Gari, a suburb of Maiduguri, killing about 14 persons.
On the other hand, Major Gen. Attahiru was described as an upright officer, who principled philosophy rumbled the status quo. He was described as a stickler for excellence whose unbending respect for rules sent him on collision with the system.