Sunday, March 7, 2021

Meet Nigeria’s New Service Chiefs




Maj. Gen. Leo Irabor is Nigeria’s new defence chief. The office oversees the main military branches.

He was born on October 5, 1965 and hails from Ika South Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State, Southern Nigeria.

Before his appointment, Irabor was the commander of the Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army, TRADOC, Minna, Niger State.

Before he was redeployed to TRADOC, he was the Chief of Training and Operations, Defence headquarters.

Maj. Gen. Irabor replaces General Abayomi Olonisakin who served as Chief of Defence Staff since July 2015.


Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru was born on August 10, 1966, and hails from Kaduna North LGA of Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria.

Attahiru is best known for his leading role in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast.

In 2017, Attahiru, then commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in the northeast, was removed by the erstwhile army chief, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

The ex-army chief was reportedly unimpressed with the pace of the operation’s fight against Boko Haram terrorists.

But Attahiru dismissed the claim, saying the pace of the war had nothing to do with his removal.

In his valedictory speech at the operation in December 2017, Attahiru said his team killed five Boko Haram commanders and neutralised 70 terrorists while he was at the helm. He was the operation’s commander between May 2017 and December 2017.

He replaces Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai who had served in that office since July 2015.


Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo was born on April 22, 1966, and hails from Nasarawa LGA in Kano State, Northern Nigeria.

He enlisted into the Nigerian Navy on September 24, 1984, as a member of Regular Course 36 and was commissioned Sub-Lieutenant on September 24, 1988.

He is an Underwater Warfare specialist with a sub-specialisation in intelligence.

Until his appointment as Chief of Naval Staff, Gambo was the Director of Procurement at the Defence Space Adminstration. The senior officer holds a postgraduate diploma (PGD) in Transport Management and a Master’s degree in Transport Management (Logistics option), both from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).

The new naval chief has been awarded the Grand Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, passed staff course among other several decorations and awards.

Rear Admiral Amao is married to Hajiya Nana Aishat Gambo and the marriage is blessed with three children.

He replaces Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas who served as Chief of Naval Staff since July 2015.


Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao is Nigeria’s new Chief of Air Staff. Born on April 22, 1966, he hails from Osogbo LGA of Osun State, Southern Nigeria.

He enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force on January 19, 1984, as a member of 35 NDA Regular Course and was commissioned as Pilot Officer on December 20, 1986. He started his Primary Flying Training at 301 Flying Training School (FTS) Kaduna from 1987 – 1989, did the Basic Flying Training at 303 FTS Kano from 1990 – 92 and Tactical Fighter Training at 99 Air Combat Training Group (99 ACTG) Kainji from 1993 – 99. Thereafter, went for Instructor Pilot Course at 301 FTS Kaduna from 2004 – 2005.

Amao, a fighting pilot, had served in following NAF Units: 99 ACTG Kainji as Trainee/Sqn Pilot from 1993 – 2004, 301 FTS Kaduna as Instructor Pilot/Sqn Pilot from 2004 – 2007, HQ NAF Abuja as Air Assistance to Chief of Air Staff from Sep 08 – May 10, Nigerian High Commission London as Deputy Defence Adviser from May 10 – Aug 12 and Ag Defence Adviser from Nov 2011 – Feb 2012, Defence Headquarter as Assistance Director of operation from August 2013 – January 2014, 99 ACTG as Commander from January 25, 2014 – January 20, 2015, 75 Strike Group (75 STG) as Commander from January 20, 2015 – February 16, 2016, Air Component Commander of operation ZAMAN LAFIYA/LAFIYA DOLE (North East operation) from February 13, 2015 – February 16, 2016, doubled as Acting Deputy Theater Commander (Air Ops) for operation LAFIYA DOLE from January 14, 2016 – February 16, 2016, Director of Policy (DOPOL) at HQ NAF, Abuja from 16 Feb – May 27 and Director of Operations (DOO) at HQ NAF, Abuja from May 27 – September 6, 2016, Director of Training (DOT) at HQ NAF, Abuja from September 6, 2016 – Dececmber 22, 2016 and Director of Operations (DOO) at HQ NAF from December 22, 2016 – January 29, 2018.

His decorations include: Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS), General Service Medal (GSM), River Benue Star (RBS), Passed Staff College (psc) and Fellow National Defence University (FNDU) China.

The senior officer has also attended several military courses. He has the following academic qualification: MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies from University of Madras, India, Master of Military Science and Strategy (MMSc) and Advance Diploma in Defence and Strategy Studies from NDU China, Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy from Kaduna Polytechnic, National Diploma in Freshwater and Fisheries Technology from FCFFT New Bussa and Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education.

Before his appointment as the Chief of Air Staff, he was the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command (TAC).

AVM Amao is married to Mrs Elizabeth Olubunmi Amao and they are blessed with 3 lovely boys. His Hobbies include: reading, dancing, travelling, playing volley ball and golf as well as fish farming.

He replaces Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar who served as Chief of Air Staff since July 2015.