*By Charles Ibekwe*
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Army redeployed some top generals and senior officers in a move meant to reinvigorate and enhance synergy as a tradition in its operations.
Among those redeployed is the theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi who until his redeployment was in charge of leading the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists and other forms of insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country.
The redeployment of personnel came at a time the Nigerian army which has recorded several victories against the remnants of what is known as the Boko Haram, needed to reposition to round off the onslaught in strategic military style.
But because the redeployment came few days after a foiled ambush by the Boko Haram terrorists on the convoy of the now TC of Operation Lafiya Dole, it has been given all sorts of interpretation that are strange in military circles.
The Boko Haram terrorists had tried to attack the convoy of the then theatre Commander but were immediately repelled in the process as many of them fell to the superior firepower of the troops in the convoy, with a significant number fleeing and abandoning their weapons which were recovered by troops of the Nigerian army.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian army lost two of its men in the attack but the devastation in the camp of the terrorists was such that they could not re-engage the soldiers as they had wanted to but ran with their tales between their legs.
Mischief makers are however already in town with all sorts of insinuations with a certain online publication, based in the US and run by key political opposition figures in Nigeria, Sahara Reporters, leading the rumour mill by trying to link the current redeployment of personnel to that incident.
The attempt to link that foiled attack with Tuesday’s redeployment has produced a mass of rubbish that neither makes any sense nor appeals to any sense of reasoning. Apparently concocted to deceive the gullible and put the army on the defensive, many Nigerians have seen through the tale and have since written it off as ludicrous.
General Adeniyi, as stated in the release by the army has now been redeployed from the theatre command in the North-east which he headed to the army research centre in Abuja while Major-General, F. Yahaya, will now lead the Boko Haram war as theatre commander of Operation Lafiya.
The affected personnel are in high spirits because they understand that deployment in the military , the world over, is routine and is done to rekindle spirit of the officers and to enhance professionalism.
It could also involve the movement of forces within operational areas, outer positioning of forces into a formation for battle or relocation of forces and material to desired operational areas.
In the US army usage, deployment encompasses all activities from origin or home station through destination, specifically including intra-continental United States, intertheater, and intratheater movement legs, staging, and holding areas and can last from 90 days to 15 months.
It can also mean the return of service members in a combat zone to their prior station.
The current deployment of the generals as well as other top military officers in Nigeria, therefore is another normal exercise meant to reinvigorate the system for greater professional effectiveness and professional efficiency.
It is also aimed at injecting new hands to further actualize the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai as Chief of Army Staff, .the Nigerian army has benefited from such movements and have helped in terms of new strategies to prosecute the war against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria.
In 2019, the Chief of Army Staff, approved the redeployment and posting of senior officers to different positions.
In that exercise, E.O Ogunkale, a major-general, was moved from Command Army Records, Lokoja to Defence Headquarters as Chief of Defence Standards and Evaluation and A.O. Uthman, also a major-general, was redeployed from Nigerian Army School of Signals, Apapa, Lagos to Defence Headquarters as Director, Defence Communications; while Maj.-Gen. O.O Soleye was moved from Defence Headquarters to Headquarters, Command Army Records, Lokoja as Commander.
In 2018, the Nigerian Army also redeployed 103 officers including Major General Abba Dikko,the Commander, Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole while a Deputy Vice Chancellor was appointed for the newly established Nigerian Army University Biu, NAUB.
In 2017 the Nigerian Army redeployed and amended postings of seven major generals, 45 brigadier generals and 597 other officers in one of its most far-reaching shake-up exercise in recent years.
To further demonstrate the regularity of such exercises, the Army cancelled the redeployment of Adeniyi Oyebade, two months after he was transferred from being General Officer Commanding of Nigerian Army 1 Division, Kaduna, to Army Headquarters in Abuja as chief of logistics.
Many who are aware of military drills and operations know that deployment of personnel is a constant feature.
That is why innuendos by mischief makers and other publications like Sahara Reporters to taint the recent exercise has failed to find accommodation on the minds of rational beings.
It has been exposed as yet another attempt to find faults when there is none and a failed attempt to award credit to those fighting Nigeria where they do not deserve and it is a shameful and most unfortunate thing anybody could try to wish for his country.
Ibekwe is ex- US marine and public affairs analyst based in Lagos.