By Augustine Ehikioya
Ensuring no vacuum in the leadership of the Nigerian Army, Major General Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, on Friday assumed command as the 23rd Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
This was contained in a statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, which was made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA).
It reads “In his maiden speech, General Lagbaja averred that the NA under his predecessor witnessed a milestone transformation with unprecedented procurement of equipment and prudent management of human and material resources.
“The new COAS crystalized his appointment as a commitment and calling to engender positive change and make a difference in a shared vision towards the fulfillment of the constitutional responsibilities of the Nigerian Army, while pledging to serve the country with diligence and uphold the cherished values of the Nigerian Army.
“While pursuing his illustrious career, General Lagbaja was General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 and 1 Divisions of the Nigerian Army. Until his appointment as the 23rd COAS, he was the Chief of Operations (Army) at the Army Headquarters.
‘In his valedictory speech, the immediate past COAS, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya pointed out that he assumed command of the Army at a period when it was critical to sustain the onslaught against the adversaries in a security environment that was volatile, uncertain and complex.
“He further noted that the NA rose to the situation as a team and with the support from the government, remarkable successes were made in the fight against terrorism, insurgency and other criminalities in the country. He added that today the situation has changed for the better.”
Gen Yahaya, according to the statement, commended personnel of the NA for their commitment and dedication to duty.
Through commitment, jointness and inter-service collaboration, General Yahaya said bridges were built across the services, as well as paramilitary and other security agencies to effectively confront the security challenges.
The statement added “Gen Yahaya, however, admitted that the successes recorded did not come cheap but with the supreme price paid by gallant officers and soldiers.
“He expressed satisfaction that he was leaving behind an Army that can confront any adversary. He urged NA personnel to extend same support he enjoyed to his successor.
“General Yahaya revealed that the operational successes of the NA has translated to massive surrender of repentant terrorists in the North-East in a manner that beats the expectations of international and local observers.”
Highpoints of the ceremony were the signing of handing and taking over notes, presentation of command flag, decoration of the new Army Chief with Army Headquarters insignia and the symbolic lowering and hoisting of command flag, signifying the beginning of a new command.