By Sumaila Ogbaje, Abuja/Habibu Harisu, Sokoto, May 28, 2021
Maj.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya has, on Friday, assumed the leadership of the Nigerian Army as the 22nd Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of Yahaya following the death of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru in a place crash on May 21 in Kaduna.
The new COAS was until his appointment, the Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, the military counter-insurgency operation in the North East.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yahaya had earlier visited the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor before coming to Army Headquarters for the taking over ceremony.
He was received at AHQ by the Chief of Policy and Plan, Maj.-Gen. Ben Ahanotu, who also briefed him before he proceeded to assume office.
The COAS however asked for a minute’s silence in honour of the late Attahiru and other officers who died with him, after which he asked journalists to leave the hall for a closed door meeting with officers.
He did not make any public statement before departing Army Headquarters.
NAN reports that the new COAS, was born on Jan. 5, 1966 in Sifawa, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto state.
Gen Yahaya who is a member of the 37 Regular Course of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), started his cadet training on Sept. 27, 1985 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on Sept. 22, 1990.
He held several appointments including Staff, Instructional and Command.
Notable among the appointments held by the new COAS are Garrison Commander Headquarters Guards Brigade, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Deputy Director Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary, Deputy Director Army Research and Development and the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield.
He also served as the Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO) to the Minister of Defence, the Commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade and 29 Task Force Brigade (Operation Zaman Lafiya).
He was also Director Manpower at the Army Headquarters, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army.
Until his appointment as the COAS, Maj Gen Faruk Yahaya was the Theatre Commander Operation HADIN KAI, responsible for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations in North East Nigeria.
The new COAS is a holder of several honours and awards, some of which include, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Grand Service Star, Passed staff course (Dagger), National DefenceCourse (Chile), Economic Community of West Africa State Monitoring Group Medal, Command Medal, Field Command Medal, General Operations Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal and Golden Jubilee Medal.
He is married and blessed with children.
In a related development, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and former governor of the same Sokoto state and one-time Presidential candidate, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, on Friday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Maj.-Gen. Yahaya as the new COAS.
Tambuwal, in a statement, urged Yahaya to live up to the expectations.
“On behalf of the Government and good people of Sokoto State, I wish to humbly congratulate our brother and citizen, Maj.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, who for about three decades, has been an exemplary ambassador of our dear state at the national level and globally.
“This is the first time that a citizen of our state will ascend the enviable position of a COAS in the annals of the Nigerian Army.
“I, therefore, once more on behalf of our compatriots in the state, the Sultanate Council and other stakeholders, express profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for finding our son worthy of this onerous national assignment.”
Alhaji Bafarawa, also congratulated Yahaya on his appointment and urged him to exhibit a high level of professionalism in handling the security challenges bedevilling the nation.
He urged the new COAS to intensify efforts in the fight against insurgency in the North East as a theatre Commander with a commitment to duty, loyalty and discipline among his officers within the shortest period of time.
“Deeply in my mind as a former governor of Sokoto State, I have confidence in you of imminent success in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges in Nigeria.
“This is going by the positive reports recorded and performances cum professionalism exhibited by Yahaya in the service to our fatherland,’’ Bafarawa said.
He advised the new COAS to put in all the needed efforts and commitment with other security agencies in order to bring an end to the security challenge in the country.