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EXCLUSIVE: With Yahaya now army chief, 29 major-generals asked to go on one-month leave

Malik Abdulganiy

All the 29 major-generals who are senior to Farouk Yahaya, the new chief of army staff, are to proceed on one-month leave immediately, TheCable can report.

The major-generals will undertake a one-year course in any local institution of their choice after the conclusion of the leave.

TheCable understands that after they have completed the course, new roles may be created for them at the defence headquarters, headed by Lucky Onyenuchea Irabor, a full-star general and chief of defence staff.

Yahaya, a major-general, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the successor to Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash on May 21, 2021.


There have been fears that following a long-standing military tradition, all the major-generals who are senior to Yahaya will be retired.

The new army chief is of the 37 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), which makes him junior to 29 generals who are of Course 35 and Course 36.

This led to speculations of an impending mass retirement in the army, but Bernard Onyeuko, DHQ spokesperson, promptly denied the reports.


In what many will describe as an attempt to avoid losing two generations of officers who still have active service years ahead of them, the military authorities have worked out the one-month leave arrangement “to calm things down for now”, according to a government source.

“While the 29 generals are senior to Yahaya, they are all junior to Irabor, who is of Course 34, so many of them will eventually have roles created for them at Defence HQ,” a senior military source told TheCable.

“The country has invested too much in them to lose their talents and experience at this stage.”

The officers proceeding on the one-month course are JB Olawumi, the former DG of NYSC who was the most senior after Attahiru’s death; JO Akomolafe, CO Ude, G Oyefesobi, MO Uzoh, CC Okonkwo and MSA Aliyu.

Also on the list are UM Mohammed, BM Shafa, NE Angbazo, YP Auta, SA Yaro, J Sarham and HE Ayamasoawei.

The rest are OF Azinta, BA Akinroluyo, KAY Isiyaku, AT Hamman, AM Aliyu, HPZ Vintienagba, HR Momoh, JR Unuigbe, AA Jidda, OI Uzomere, MH Magaji, LA Adegboye, MA Masanawa, OA Akinyemi and AM Dauda.

Over 50 generals were reportedly retired in January 2014 when President Goodluck Jonathan appointed new service chiefs.

One year later, 25 generals were retired when Buhari appointed new service chiefs.

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