Nigeria's Bola Tinubu removes security chiefs in major reshuffle

Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu, pictured in Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2023. [File, VOA]

Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu made sweeping changes to the defense forces Monday, forcing out the security chiefs and the head of police less than a month after taking office.

Tinubu, who was sworn in May 29, has made security one of his major priorities and promised reforms to the sector, including recruitment of more soldiers and police officers, while paying and equipping them better.

Nigeria's military is stretched — fighting a long-running Islamist insurgency in the northeast and banditry and kidnappings for ransom in the northwest as insecurity has spread to most parts of the country.

It is not unusual for a new Nigerian president to send security chiefs into early retirement upon taking office, as Tinubu did Monday.

He picked Nuhu Ribadu, a former senior police officer and ex-head of the country's economic and financial crimes agency, as his National Security Adviser.

Major General Christopher Musa, who until last year was leading the army's fight against the insurgency, takes over as the new Chief of Defense Staff from Lucky Irabor.

Tinubu also named new commanders for the army, navy and air force as well as a new head of the Nigeria Customs Service with immediate effect.