Face of Nigeria’s new service chiefs


President Muhammadu Buhari on the 26th of January 2021 appointed new service chiefs to pilot the security affairs of the country.

The new Service Chiefs are, Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.

1. Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Leo Irabor


Major General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor was born on 5 October 1965 in Aliokpu Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria.


The senior officer gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna as a member of the 34 Regular Course in 1983 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 28 June 1986 into the Signals Corps of the Nigerian Army.

Major General Irabor attended several military and civil courses both locally and abroad. He attended Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) for his Junior Staff Course in 1995 and Ghana Armed Forces Staff College Teshi, Accra Ghana for Senior Staff Course in 2000/2001 amongst other several military courses.

The senior officer equally attended National Defence College in Bangladesh in 2010 and Harvard Kennedy Schools of Government and Executive Education, the USA in 2012 and 2017 respectively.

Others include the United Nations and African Union Peace Keeping Courses and Conferences as well as a seminar on Combatting Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism at the European Centre for Security Studies in Garmish, Germany.

Major General Lucky Irabor is a trained Engineer from Obafemi Awolowo University and holds two Masters Degrees from University of Ghana, Accra and Bangladesh University of Professionals, Dhaka.

The Honours and Awards that Major General Irabor earned in the course of his career include Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS) and Grand Service Star (GSS).

Others include Command Medal and Field Command Medal (FCM). He was also awarded the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping medals for operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as medals for United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Major General Lucky Irabor has held several appointments in the course of his career. Notable amongst which are Nigerian Defence Academy Adjutant, Commanding Officer 515 Signal Regiment, Commander 53 Signals Brigade and Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Army Staff.

Others include Coordinator Nigerian Army Aviation, Deputy Theatre Commander/Land Component Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Force Commander MNJTF, Chief of Defence Training and Operations and until his appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff was the Commander Training and Doctrine Command Nigerian Army.

As Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Irabor was responsible for the capture of Alargano Forest – the claimed spiritual base of Boko Haram Terrorists.

He also planned and executed the conduct of Operations Crack Down 1 and 2, Rescue Finale and Deep Punch which led to the clearance of Sambisa forest, destruction of BHT camps and enclaves, the capture of several weapons, vehicles and equipment belonging to BHT as well as rescued well over 20,000 civilians abducted by BHT, including two Chibok Girls.

The General is a very committed trainer and disciplinarian. His sterling qualities have won him several commendations as well as his appointment as Force Commander Multi-National Joint Task Force.

Until his recent appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Irabor was the Commander Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army.

The senior officer is widely travelled. He is happily married and blessed with children.

2. Chief of Army Staff, General Ibrahim Attahiru


General Ibrahim Attahiru was born on August 10, 1966. He is from Kaduna North of Kaduna State and is a member of the Regular Course 35 of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

He was General Officer Commanding 82 Division of Nigerian Army, Enugu prior to his appointment as Chief of Army Staff.

In 2017, he was ordered by the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai to destroy Boko Haram and capture Abubakar Shekau, the leader dead or alive. He reportedly failed this mission and was removed from his post.

3. Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao


Air Vice-Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao was born on 14 September 1965 at Enugu. He hails from Oshogbo LGA of Osun State.


He attended Nuhu Bamali Primary School, Kaduna from 1971 – 77; Command Secondary School, Kakuri Kaduna from 1977 – 1982 and National Diploma in Federal College of Freshwater and Fisheries Technology (FCFFT), New Bussa and Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education from 1994 – 1996.

Amao further proceeded to the University of Madras in India where he obtained his MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies from 2002 – 2003.

Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy, Kaduna Polytechnic from 2005 – 2006.

He also got a Master of Military Science and Strategy (MMSc) and Advance Diploma from National Defence University China from 2012 – 2013.


He was enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force on 19 January 1984 as a member of 35 NDA Regular Course after his secondary education and was commissioned as Pilot Officer on 20 December 1986.

Amao started his Primary Flying Training at 301 Flying Training School (FTS) Kaduna from 1987 – 1989, did the Basic Flying Training at 303 FTS Kano from 1990 – 92 and Tactical Fighter Training at 99 Air Combat Training Group (99 ACTG) Kainji from 1993 – 99. Thereafter, went for Instructor Pilot Course at 301 FTS Kaduna from 2004 – 2005.

He held several positions in the Nigerian Air Force and was prior to his appointment the Air Component Commander of the operation against the Nigerian insurgents that was tagged as Zaman Lafiya Dole/Lafiya Dole in North-East Nigeria and was also the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command (TAC).

The senior officer has attended several military courses which include: Junior Division Course at Armed Forces Command Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji from Jun-Dec 1986, Senior Division Course at Defence Services Staff College India from 2002 – 2003, Defence Course at National Defence University China from 2012 – 2013, Aircraft Accident Investigation in Civil Airline at NCAT Zaria and Aircraft Accident Investigation Course at Karachi, Pakistan.

Marital status

AVM Amao is happily married to Mrs Elizabeth Olubunmi Amao and they are blessed with three lovely boys.

4. Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Zubairu Gambo


Rear Admiral Zubairu Gambo was born on 22 April 1966 and hails from Nasarawa LGA of Kano State.

He got enlisted into the Nigerian Navy on the 24 September 1984 as a member of Regular Course 36/and was commissioned sub-Lieutenant on 24 September 1988.

Gambo is an underwater Warfare Specialist with sub-specialisation in intelligence. The Senior Officer has attended several military courses which include; Sub-Technical course and Officers course both at NNS QUORRA. He also attended Junior Division 48/99 and Senior Course 26 both at AFCSC Jaji.

Other courses attended include The National Defence Course at the South African National Defence College. Until his appointment as the Chief of Naval Staff, he was the Director of Procurement at the Defence Space Administration.

The Senior Officer holds a PGD in Transport Management and a Masters Degree in Transport Management (Logistics Option) both from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.

He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Fellow of the Certified Institute of Shipping, Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria as well as Fellow of the National Defence College, South Africa.


Gambo has been awarded the Grand Service Star (GSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS), Passed Staff Course (PSC) and other several decorations and awards.


He is married to Hajiya Nana Aishat Gambo and the marriage is blessed with three children.


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