Ibrahim Attahiru: Life and times of a fearless General who defined his eon by dying in line of duty

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Attahiru Ibrahim (10 August 1966–21 May 2021) was a Nigerian Army Lieutenant General serving as the 21st Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army since 26 January 2021.

He was born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State. He was a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He commenced cadets training in January 1984 and was commissioned into the rank of Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.

He had a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy. Others included Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development form Salford University in the United Kingdom and Graduate Diploma in international Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

▪︎Military Career

General Attahiru has held several appointments on the staff, instructional and in command during his military career. He had a tour of duty with the United Nations in Sierra Leone as a Military Observer, where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement, Operation BARASS in September 2000.

He was an Operation Officer and later Company Commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG Operations in Liberia. Also, he had the unique privilege of having commanded with distinction all through the chain of command in the Nigerian Army. Prominent among these appointments were Commanding Officer 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation HARMONY IV) in the Bakassi Peninsula, Commander 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation PULO SHIELD), General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army.

He was one time Theatre Commander “Operation LAFIYA DOLE” (the Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Outfit in North Eastern Nigeria). It is on record that he brought relative stability to the region with the surrender of several Boko Haram combatants.

As a staff officer, he was unit Adjutant, 7 Battalion Nigerian Army, Serti, Chief of Staff, 1 Brigade Nigerian Army Sokoto. General Staff Officer Grade 1 Training/Operations and as well as Staff Duties/Plans at Headquarters 1, 2 and 81 Divisions of the Nigerian Army.  He was Deputy Director Military Secretary 2 at the AHQ MS (A) and one-time Director Army Public Relations and Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army. He was later Director Staff Duties and Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans at the Army Headquarters.

He was equally privileged to serve as Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation and Chief of Defence Logistics at the apex organ of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Defence Headquarters Abuja. In that position, he worked with the US Defence Logistics Agency on the Vertically Integrated Logistics Approach (VILA) Programme towards enhancing the operational readiness in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

On the instructional, he was an Instructor at the Depot Nigerian Army, Nigerian Defence Academy and the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He was later a Directing Staff and Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji – Kaduna.

General Attahiru had been exposed to leadership and professional development programmes at globally renowned institutions. He was at the National Defence College, Kenya for the National Defence Management and Security Studies Course and at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Special Forces Academy Shijiazhuang-Hubei Province, China for the Basic and Advanced Special/Operations Commando Forces Courses. He had undertaken leadership and security policy course at the prestigious Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University USA, Graduate School of Media and Communication, Agha Khan University of Nairobi, Bournemouth University Disaster Management Center and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

On 21 May 2021, it was reported that Attahiru’s plane had crashed, killing him and the seven others onboard.  In a statement, the Nigerian Air Force confirmed one of its planes crashed near Kaduna International Airport while Accident Investigation Bureau Commissioner and CEO Akinola Olateru confirmed that there were no survivors.

May the soul of Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, a gentleman and officer, who defined his eon by dying in the line of duty, rest in peace.

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