Attahiru Ibrahim (10 August 1966 – 21 May 2021) was a Nigerian Army Lieutenant General who served as the 25th Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army from 26 January 2021 to 21 May 2021. On 21 May 2021, he was killed in a plane crash in the north-western state of Kaduna, Nigeria.
Early life and education
Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru was born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State. He was the 25th Chief of Army Staff (Nigeria) and 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 held a Masters degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy. Others include Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University in the United Kingdom and a Graduate Diploma in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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 are 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 a 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 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 has been exposed to leadership and professional development programs 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 has 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.
General Ibrahim Attahiru’s Death
Nigeria’s army chief Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru died in a plane crash on the 21st of May, 2021, in a King Air 350 aircraft while on an official visit to the Northern state of Kaduna, which has had security challenges in recent months. It was initially rumoured that his wife, Fati Attahiru was also onboard the ill-fated crash but was debunked by Mohammed Sani Dattijo, Kaduna State Governor’s Chief of staff.
There are speculations that Ibrahim Attahiru stepped on toes, particularly that of the outgone COAS, General Tukur Buratai who he was investigating for looting $1billion, a huge sum meant for the procurement of military weapons.
According to an undisclosed source, Mr Ibrahim Attahiru refused to join others who looted arms funds meant to fight Boko Haram.
Awards and Recommendations
The General had several honours and awards to his credit. He was a highly decorated officer with UNAMSIL Medal, ECOMOG Medal, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguish Service Star, Grand Service Star, Corp Medal of Honour, Command medal, Field Command Medal, and Field Command Medal of Honour.