The Nigerian Air Force has redeployed at least eight top officers in a shake-up which is coming three days after the Nigerian Army also changed the portfolios of at least 25 generals.
The NAF announced the redeployments, which included the posting of a new Commander for the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole, the military’s anti-insurgency operation in the North-East, on Wednesday.
The air force replaced former Commander, Air Vice Marshal James Gwani, with Air Commodore Precious Amadi.
The Nigerian Army had, on Sunday, released its major postings which affected no fewer than 25 Major Generals and Brigadier-Generals.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said in a statement on Wednesday that new Branch Chiefs were appointed for the Special Operations Command and the Tactical Air Command.
The air force spokesman said, “The newly appointed Branch Chiefs are the erstwhile Air Officer Commanding, Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshal Napoleon Bali, who is now the Chief of Policy and Plans, Headquarters NAF, and AVM Paul Dimfwina, who is now the Chief of Communication Information Systems.
“The new AOCs include the former Commander Air Task Force, Operation Lafiya Dole, AVM James Gwani, who has been moved to the Special Operations Command, Bauchi, and AVM Charles Ohwo appointed as the AOC of the Tactical Air Command in Makurdi.
“Also redeployed are AVM John Baba as Chairman, Air Expo and International Liaison Secretariat, AVM Idi Lubo as the Director of Operations at the NAF Headquarters. Also, AVM Christopher Umolu was redeployed as the Coordinator, Project Implementation and Monitoring Team. All appointments take effect from Friday, July 19.”
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has said it has made significant progress in addressing the activities of the Boko Haram and other security threats and in restoring normalcy to the North-East and other parts of the country.
The acting Director, Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, who paid the Punch Nigeria Limited a courtesy visit at its Abuja Bureau, noted that Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states were “almost ungovernable.”
He said the armed forces had garnered experience over the years with several international peace support and peace enforcement operations, which it deployed in “boxing the national adversary into the corner in the north-eastern part of the country, particularly in the Lake Chad region.”
The Defence spokesman said, “Boko Haram no longer enjoys that freedom of action. Our troops dominate the chart of operations, even though it is a very vast, massive area, so to speak, and there is no way we can deploy (troops) shoulder to shoulder.
“We can only do enough of utilities gathering and surveillance and address some of those challenges like the attack on soft targets – the civilian populace – by the terrorists.”
Nwachukwu stated that the armed forces had combated insecurity by engaging in joint operations with security agencies including the police, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Department of State Services.
The Defence spokesman said security in the Federal Capital Territory had also improved as terrorism had been neutralised in the area.
He added, “We don’t have those cases of suicide bombing any longer. Many checkpoints that dotted the FCT have melted away. It is an indicator of the progress we have made in terms of granting security and addressing the issue of Boko Haram and terrorism in the country.
“You may not give us 100 per cent but I want to assure you that our troops have been up and doing.”