By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja.
Major General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor has officially assumed office as Seventeenth Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) has pledged to provide the right leadership and environment to enable officers and men of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) efficiently perform their constitutional responsibility of defending the nation against external aggression and other security challenges.
Gen Irabor took over the mantle of leadership from his immediate predecessor, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (rtd) in a brief handing and taking over ceremony held at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Abuja.
The new CDS, who acknowledged that there were enormous security challenges currently facing the country, disclosed that “himself and the Service Chiefs will in no distant time take actions that will significantly add value to tackle the security challenges across the country.”
Maj Gen Irabor commended officers and men of the AFN for being part and parcel of the efforts and gains made thus far in the fight against insurgency, militancy, banditry and other sundry crimes, while noting that he looks forward to greater contributions from them.
The Defence Chief urged Nigerians to support the AFN and security agencies in tackling the contemporary security confronting the nation, adding that the collective efforts and responsibility between the security agencies and the citizenry is an essential factor.
The CDS who thanked the outgoing CDS and the other Service Chiefs for their leadership virtues and their immense contributions while in office, noted that giant strides and achievements were recorded under their command.
The CDS thanked commander-in – chief, President Muhammadu Buhari for his appointment, pledging his loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to carry out his duties with utmost sense of commitment.
The immediate past CDS, Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin in his valedictory Speech, expressed his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve the nation at the apex Command of the AFN and for the contributions made under his watch as the CDS in containing the various security challenges which he noted pre-occupied the AFN throughout his tenure.
Gen Olonisakin who disclosed that the new CDS has been part of the operational efforts, urged him to continue to review the AFN strategy to address the changing nature of security threats. He commended the immediate past Service Chiefs for their tireless efforts, saying that he was proud to have led, directed and coordinated their collective national security efforts.
The newly appointed Service Chiefs, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Awwal Zabairu Gambo and the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Isiaka Oladayo Amao who have equally taken over the mantle of leadership in their respective Services were in attendance at the event, witnessed by the top brass of military.
The new Defence Chief, who is a member of 34 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), is an alumnus of the National Defence College Bangladesh and the Harvard Kennedy Schools of Government and Executive Education, USA.
He holds Masters Degrees from University of Ghana, Accra and Bangladesh University of Professional, Dhaka.
Prior to his recent appointment, Gen LEO Irabor was the Commander, Training and Doctrine Command, Nigerian Army. The senior officer served in numerous capacities, prime among which were: Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Force Commander, Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the Chief of Defence Training and Operations.
The senior officer is a recipient of ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping medals for operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).