Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Abdulmalik Bulama Biu, was Thursday removed from his position in a reshuffle by the Nigerian Army Headquarters.
Biu was directly overseeing the war against insurgency and was recently granted accelerated promotion for his efforts and contributions to the war against insurgency by President Mohammadu Buhari.
He was replaced by Brigadier General MA Ibrahim, who was moved from the Army Headquarters.
Ibrahim would assume duties as the Theatre Commander of Sector 1 Operation Lafiya Dole and Acting-General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 7 Division.
Biu has, however, been transferred to Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole and Sector 3 Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) where he would act as commander for both units.
There was no official reason for his removal, but Biu was believed to have, in celebrating his recent promotion boasted that terrorist groups, Boko Haram and ISWAP, should lay down their arms in honour of his promotion.
He was also said to have been insensitive to the recent killing of some officers and men in the North-east. He was said to have thrown a wild party in Maiduguri at the same time that two colonels, a captain and many other soldiers were killed by insurgents.
Biu had boasted after his promotion that the “the promotion I was told was as a result of all the efforts and successes we recorded in defeating Boko Haram. Our appreciation will, therefore, be incomplete without calling on the remnants of Boko Haram to join in celebrating me by laying down their arms unconditionally as quickly as possible for peace to reign.
“Then, I will have a great sense of fulfilment. But where some of them decide not to do so, I want to assure them that I have returned to Maiduguri more reinvigorated, well energised,” he said.
“You still have the opportunity to lay down your arms; the time to surrender is now, to enable you rejoin the society,” he said.
The party thrown by Biu was viewed as the height of insensitivity by the Nigerian Army authorities.
Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, was not available for comment but shared a link on the redeployment on an army online platform.
Buhari had said Biu’s promotion was based on his “extraordinary feats, exemplary leadership, commitment and valour.”
Others affected by the reshuffle include Major General BA Akinroluyo, who was moved from theatre Command Headquarters Operation Lafiya Dole to Training and Doctrine headquarters, Minna.
Major General, CG Musa, was moved to Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole to Training and Doctrine Headquarters, Minna. Major General O Adeniyi remained in theatre command headquarters and was appointed theatre commander.
Col IA Ajose was moved from 5 Brigade Headquarters to TRADOC Headquarters, Minna while Col OA Awolo, was redeployed from 707 Special Forces Brigade to 5 Brigade Headquarters and appointed acting commander.
Col AS Bugaje of the Nigerian Defence Academy was transferred to 707 Special Forces Brigade as its new commander.