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Ribadu takes over as NSA, vows to deepen security, stability

By Seye Olumide (Southwest Bureau Chief) and Odita Sunday (Abuja)
27 June 2023   |   4:18 am
Retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday, officially assumed duties as the National Security Adviser (NSA) with a pledge to subdue insecurity and stabilise the country.

National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu (left) taking over from his predecessor, Brig.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) in Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA <br />

• How Tinubu’s appointment of Ribadu, service chiefs defies politics in security architecture
• Airforce redeploys 52 Air Vice Marshals, 46 Air Commodores in fresh shake-up

Retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday, officially assumed duties as the National Security Adviser (NSA) with a pledge to subdue insecurity and stabilise the country.
Ribadu took over from Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.), following his appointment by President Bola Tinubu on June 19.
Ribadu, pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was previously appointed Special Adviser on Security to President Tinubu on June 15.
However, four days later, in an unprecedented shake-up in the country’s security architecture, the President retired Monguno as NSA and elevated Ribadu as his replacement.

In the last one week, there have been changes of baton in all the security agencies with the assumption of the newly appointed heads.
At a brief event in Abuja, yesterday, Ribadu promised to live up to the expectations of Nigerians and secure the country from all forms of security concerns such as terrorism, banditry, and kidnapping.
He said: “We will stabilise this country, we will secure our country and we will make Nigeria peaceful because we believe time has come for this country to enjoy peace, restore order and rule of law just like any other country in the world.
“Securing the nation is a continuous process. We will look at what has been done and build on it. We will count on your support in the course of discharging our responsibilities.
“Mr President has a huge commitment to securing every inch of our country. We will work with all stakeholders to deliver on this vision.
“This enormous task of securing our country is that of all Nigerians, and all friends of Nigeria,” Ribadu said.
The NSA solicited the full cooperation of all servicemen and women, and by extension all Nigerians.
In his remarks, the former NSA, Monguno, said Ribadu is well equipped, well qualified, well educated and has a very deep understanding of the complexity of the security challenges confronting Nigeria, adding that the ever-changing 21st security environment demands a complex approach.
“For me, I have been able to handover a comprehensive note to him and also brief him extensively.
“For me, I want to give gratitude to the Almighty God for giving the grace to serve for such a long time and also allowing me to depart in good health and enjoy the rest of my life in an atmosphere that is bereft of the type of pressure that are associated with this all important office.

“I am also wishing in the same vein that Ribadu will have a very successful tenure and depart in good health when the time comes for him to depart.”

NIGERIANS may not yet have comprehended the actual politics that played out within the nation’s security sector before President Tinubu finally appointed Ribadu as NSA and his (Tinubu) choice of various security chiefs.
To the chagrin of many, Ribadu was the least expected, where there are numerous senior serving and retired military brass, who considered the NSA position as the exclusive right of core military personnel.
The president later went ahead to announce the appointments of security chiefs, which included Maj. Gen. C.G. Musa Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. T.A. Lagbaja as Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral E.A. Ogalla as Chief of Naval Staff, AVM H.B. Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff, DIG Kayode Egbetokun as acting Inspector-General of Police, and Maj. Gen. E.P.A. Undiandeye as Chief of Defence Intelligence.
In the appointments, it was glaring that Tinubu ensured a balance in accordance with regional, ethnic and religious complexity of the country, unlike what transpired under former President Muhammadu Buhari, where officers from a particular section of the country held the various portfolios in the security architecture of the country.
Over the years, the background of the army chief and IGP, in relation to the ethnic background of whoever is the president, has always been a major consideration. This became more pronounced under the last administration. His successor, Tinubu appears to have sustained the tempo but with a bit of consideration for regional and religious considerations.
Sources close to the seat of power said Tinubu remains unperturbed over insinuations that he deliberately positioned officers from his geopolitical zone to critical and strategic security positions, adding that Mr President allegedly laughed off the allegation that he is in a hurry to set up his government by making key security appointments before the conclusion of the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The argument is that should the judges overrule Tinubu’s victory or rule for a rerun, Tinubu’s key men will be in position to ensure his re-election.
Sources closer to the presidency said one of the reasons Tinubu insisted on Ribadu is not just about insecurity, but that he plans to position the ex-EFCC boss to resolve the challenges of food insecurity in the country.
Tinubu believes he could also task Ribadu to engage herdsmen in a peace talks and consequently persuade them against their criminal activities and frequent clashes with farmers.

Tinubu may have insisted on Ribadu because the retired police officer appears to understand the language and culture of armed herdsmen, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and he can easily influence them away from any act that is inimical to the security of the country.
“Mr. President also calculated that Ribadu, being a former trained police officer, will understand more about internal crime, unlike military officers, whose major focus is to combat external aggression,” the source added.
The integrity of Ribadu is another attraction to Tinubu. For instance, Tinubu had expressed concern about the humongous budget the nation spends on security but with little results.
Tinubu is worried that most of the money voted for security allegedly ends up in individual pockets but with Ribadu, whom he considered as an upright man and who had in the past probed into security budgets while serving as EFCC chairman, sanity will be brought back into how money earmarked for security purposes are spent.
Tinubu is therefore said to be more than determined to have Ribadu in the fullest capacity and with the readiness to do away with any uncooperative military officer(s).
The President is quoted to have said that the bulk stops on his table and therefore any military officer, who is uncomfortable with Ribadu’s appointment can resign or get fired.
Speaking on the development, a retired military intelligence officer, Captain David Mbamara, said Tinubu’s appointments so far are miles apart from what transpired under Buhari. He said the incumbent president tried as much as possible to do away with nepotism in the appointment he made so far.
“All the geopolitical zones are well represented although his kinsmen may have been stylishly given an upper hand, which is nothing new in politics.”
The Labour Party governorship aspirant in Imo State, said Mr President at least gave the Southeast a sense of belonging in his appointment unlike what transpired in the last eight years, “though he can still do more to assuage the region.
“The Southeast has been maliciously marginalised but with what has happened so far, we can all see that peace is gradually returning to the country.”
A former military administrator of Ondo State, Commodore Olabode George (rtd), said Tinubu may have done his best by reflecting a sense of balance in the appointment of his security chiefs and the NSA, “but as an intelligence officer, that will not stop the politicisation of Nigeria’s security system as long as the dysfunctional governance system, which deliberately placed and favoured a particular section of the country above others, exists.

“Tinubu must sum up the political will to restructure Nigeria, if he must overcome her security challenges. The longest Tinubu can stay in office is eight years, if he did all his reforms on the existing 1999 Constitution and left, another person will come and reverse them.”
George added that the perceived grouse within the military circle against Ribadu’s appointment is part of the politics ongoing in the Nigeria military circle, which he said boils down to the Constitution Nigeria operates.
To Dr Olu Agunloye, a former Minister of Defense, the appointments being made now by President Tinubu are certainly different and better than the ones by the former President.
He said the motives and reasons for the appointments are different. “The former appointments were to ensure patronage, personal aggrandizement, and enshrine nepotism for loyalty to individuals and not to the State. The Tinubu appointments appear to have risen above these mediocre levels, but the new President needs to pilot his new team to remain focused and faithful to good governance and service to the Nigerian nation and not to selves, families, clans or communities.”

IN a fresh move to stabilise his tenure and following the recent change of guard in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Hassan Abubakar, has approved the redeployment of 98 officers of air rank.

Prominent among the new appointees are Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding (AOCs), Commandants of Tri-Service Establishments, and NAF institutions.
According to Airforce spokesman, Air Commodore Famuyiwa, “the newly reappointed senior officers comprise 52 AVMs and 46 Air Commodores (Air Cdres), among whom are the former Commandant Air Force War College (AWC), AVM Abraham Adole now the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans (CDPP) at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ); while AVM Nkem Aguiyi takes over as the Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation (CDTI) at the DHQ; and AVM Ahmed Shinkafi becomes the Chief of Defence Space Administration (CDSA).
“At the Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (HQ NAF), former Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command (AOC GTC), AVM Sayo Olatunde is now the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP); AVM Ibikunle Daramola remains the Chief of Communications Information Systems (CCIS); AVM Pius Oahimire appointed the Chief of Aircraft Engineering (CAcE), HQ NAF; while AVM Uchechi Nwagwu takes over as the Chief of Accounts and Budget (CAB).
“Others include former AOC Special Operations Command (SOC) Bauchi, AVM Abubakar Abdulkadir now the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP);  AVM Dominic Danat as the Chief of Logistics (CLOG); AVM Ahmed Bakari as Air Secretary; AVM Michael Onyebashi as Chief of Standards and Evaluation (COSE), HQ NAF; AVM Idi Sani as Chief of Administration (COA); AVM Anthony Ekpe retains his appointment as the Chief of Medical Services (CMS); while Air Cdre Friday Ogohi is now the Chief of Air Intelligence (CAI),HQ NAF.

“The newly appointed commandants include AVM Adeniyi Amesinlola who now heads the Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (AFRC), Oshodi; AVM Hassan Alhaji takes charge of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji; AVM Sani Rabe heads the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna; AVM Adebayo Kehinde takes over command of the Air Force War College, Makurdi; while AVM Esen Efanga is Commandant Air Warfare Centre, Abuja.
“Also affected by the latest redeployments are AVM Francis Edosa appointed the AOC Tactical Air Command (AOC TAC), Makurdi; AVM Tajudeen Yusuf as AOC Mobility Command (AOC MC), Yenagoa; AVM Eneobong Effiom as AOC SOC, Bauchi; AVM Nnamdi Ananaba as AOC Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Kaduna; AVM Usman Abdullahi as AOC GTC, Enugu; and AVM Abubakar Abdullahi as AOC Logistics Command (AOC LC).
“In the same vein, AVM Kabir Umar is now the Group Managing Director of NAF Investments Limited Group of Companies; AVM Sunday Aneke as Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna; AVM Titus Dauda as the College Secretary, National Defence College (NDC), Abuja; while Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet has been reappointed as the Director of Public Relations and Information.
“The newly appointed senior officers are expected to assume office not later than Monday, July 3, 2023.