Major-General Attahiru: 5 Things You May Not Know About New COAS, who replaced Buratai


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has finally appointed new service chiefs to replace those who have been in service since 2015.

The appointment of the new service chiefs came after seemingly unending calls for the sack of the former service chiefs who didn’t earn the confidence of Nigerians as banditry, kidnapping and insurgency became pervasive.

Among the newly appointed service chiefs is Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru who replaced Lieutenant General T.Y Buratai as Chief of Army Staff. TheLeadng presents 5 things you may not know about the new Army boss.

1: Background and Education

Major General Ibrahim Attahiru with Army Number 8406 was born on the 10th day of August 1966. He hails from Kaduna State, Precisely Kaduna North Local Government Area. What’s more, he was a member of the Regular Course 35 of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

2: One Time Army Spokesman

The new COAS is a former Director of Army Public Relations. He assumed the position in 2013 after being promoted from the rank of Colonel to Brigadier General in the year 2012.

3: Massacre of 140 defenceless citizens of Judeo-Christian faith

Subsequent appointments saw Attahiru became Acting General Officer Commanding, 82 Division in 2015 following a Major shake-up in Nigerian Army. He eventually became General Officer Commanding 18 in 2016. A report by the International Society For Civil Liberties & The Rule Of Law list him as one of the perpetrators behind the massacre of 140 defenceless citizens of Judeo-Christian faith during global Igbo Heroes Day in Onitsha, Nkpor and Asaba on the 29th and 30th of May 2016. It was the same period which Attahiru (then a Major General) was GOC, 82 Division, Enugu.

4: Sacked As Commander In War Against Boko Haram

In 2017 Maj-Gen Attahiru Ibrahim was appointed as the Theatre Commander of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. He took over from Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor who has been posted as Force Commander of Multinational Joint Task Force, N’Djamena, having served in the Theatre for 15 months.


However, Attahiru was sacked 6 months after for reasons not far from his inability to contain insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast. In June 2017, barely a month after Ibrahim took over, Boko Haram insurgents attacked Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

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. Some members of staff of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the team were also killed in the brutal ambush.

He also failed to capture the head of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau months after the then chief of army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai had ordered that he should be delivered dead or alive.

5: Task Before Him

After his sack as commander in the war against Boko Haram, Major General Attahiru was redeployed as deputy Chief of Policy and Planning at the army headquarters. Not much was heard about him until his recent appointment as Chief of Army Staff.

With his appointment, Attahiru is expected to fix the breakdown of security nationwide which is becoming a major political issue. In 2020, the six southwest states governors moved to establish a security force to supplement and assist the national police force in the face of a kidnapping epidemic.

Reports have it that twenty-three states across the country have stood up local security organizations, ranging from neighbourhood watches to armed police. Also, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau remains elusive — several years after Major General Attahiru failed to capture him as commander of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.