The outgoing Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, outgoing Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and his counterpart in the Nigerian Navy, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, will on Friday hand over to their successors.
But the outgoing Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oludayo Amao, will hand over to his successor today (Thursday).
The President, Bola Tinubu, had on Monday announced the immediate retirement of the service chiefs.
The President also announced their replacement as Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa as the Chief of Defence Staff; Maj. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja as the Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla as the new Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Abubakar as the Chief of Air Staff.
Findings by our correspondent showed that the new service chiefs had yet to assume office two days after their appointment.
The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau, told The PUNCH on Wednesday that, “The handing and taking over is on Friday. You are invited.”
Also, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, told our correspondent that the handover process was on course.
He said, “The process for the handover has started already. The outgoing COAS met virtually with commanders in the morning and in the evening he met with heads of the service’s establishments. At the meetings, he appreciated them for their support. He urged them to extend similar support to his successor. There are a lot of things like the handover note that must be put in place before the taking-over ceremony; but tentatively, the handover should hold on Friday.’’
Earlier, the military had, in a statement, described as malicious online reports “alleging the refusal of the outgoing Chief of the Naval Staff to hand over to the incoming Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral EI Ogalla.”
The spokesperson for the service, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, in the statement on Wednesday said, “The media reports are totally lies, misleading, and capable of spreading falsehood to unsuspecting members of the public.”
He added, “Suffice to state that handing and taking over ceremony in the Nigerian Navy from inception is procedural. The outgoing CNS is expected to give a detailed brief to the incoming CNS, tour key naval facilities, and perform the ceremonial lowering of ensign. Accordingly, the programme of events leading to the formal handing and taking over ceremony has kicked off to culminate at a public ceremony on Friday, June 23, 2023, in line with age-long naval tradition.”
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ayodele Famuyiwa, said the new CNS had resumed, adding that the handover would hold on Thursday.
He said, “The new CNS has resumed. Until his appointment, he has been at headquarters. He was the Chief of Standard and Evaluation. The handing and taking over is tomorrow (Thursday). “