from Africa in Transition

Nigerian General Leading the Fight Against Boko Haram is Replaced

Recruits undergo training at the headquaters of the Depot of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State in northcentral Nigeria, on October 5, 2017. The military has been criticized for human rights abuses and claiming Boko Haram's defeat numerous times. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

December 13, 2017

Recruits undergo training at the headquaters of the Depot of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State in northcentral Nigeria, on October 5, 2017. The military has been criticized for human rights abuses and claiming Boko Haram's defeat numerous times. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
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The Nigerian Army announced on December 6 that Major General Rogers Ibe Nicholas is replacing Major General Ibrahim Attahiru as the commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the military effort against the jihadist insurgency Boko Haram. Nigerian and other media speculates that the replacement, made without official comment, is in response to the military’s shortcomings over the past months in the fight against Boko Haram. If so, the personnel change reflects a welcome focus on accountability of the military leadership at the highest level. It also reflects a willingness to address problems instead of denying that they have occurred.

According to the Nigerian media, General Nicholas has been outspoken against military abuse of civilians, which is an important driver of Boko Haram recruitment. That, too, is a positive aspect of his assignment to Borno.

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Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Military Operations

General Nicholas is a native of Imo state, in the south. In Nigerian social media, his is identified as an Igbo. His name would indicate that he is a Christian, though the Nigerian military does not identify religious or ethnic affiliation of its personnel. In the south and east, the Buhari administration is often accused of a strong, northern bias. Nicholas’s appointment is a refutation of that perception.
 

More on:

Nigeria

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Military Operations

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