Borno governor appoints Kwara-born retired general as security adviser

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Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum on Thursday appointed a retired army general, Abdullahi Ishaq, as his adviser on security.

The governor announced the appointment on Friday through a statement by his spokesperson, Isa Gusau.

Mr Ishaq, according to the statement, is from Kwara State and commanded a unit in the Operation Lafiya Dole theatre command before he retired from the army in January.

His appointment came as a surprise to many in Borno because the governor had earlier appointed a Borno State-born retired colonel, Abubakar Chiroma, as his security adviser.

Mr Chiroma, son of a former labour leader, Ali Chiroma, is a Kanuri indigene of Borno.

The state government did not clarify in the statement whether Mr Chiroma has been relieved of his duty before his colleague, Mr Ishaq, a Yoruba from Kwara, was brought in.

Mr Gusau’s statement simply announced that Governor Zulum “has approved the appointment of retired Brigadier General Abdullahi Sabi Ishaq, as special adviser on security affairs.”

The statement added that “Zulum believes that General Ishaq, who will soon be sworn-in as special adviser on security, will be coming with huge operational experience, relationship with serving military and other armed forces involved in the fight against Boko Haram and a good understanding of Borno’s communities, people and cultures.

“The Governor congratulates the retired general and looks forward to working closely with him in the shared and continued determination to bring an end to the insurgency,” the statement said.

Sack or Resignation?

Meanwhile, an inside government source informed PREMIUM TIMES that the former security adviser was eased out of office because he did not show an appreciable level of commitment. Premium Times is yet to verify this claim.

“Colonel Chiroma was quietly relieved of his appointment almost a year ago,” the source said.

“He was relieved for lacking commitment,” the source said.

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When our reporter contacted the Borno State-born former security adviser to confirm the government’s claim, he politely declined making any comment on the matter.

“Sorry, I’ll rather say ‘no comment’, thank you,” he said.

However, a source very familiar with Mr Chiroma’s appointment and subsequent disenagement, said ”he was not given what he required to function at the time he took up the appointment in August 2019”.

“As a retired Colonel of the Nigerian army, Chiroma is of course not unmindful of the seriousness of the office of a security adviser of a government in a state.

“He is from Borno State and has been affected by this ongoing insurgency one way or the other. What I know was that upon his appointment as an adviser, Colonel Chiroma gave his terms and conditions and what he needed to be furnished with in order to operate effectively.

“As a security adviser, he also needed a functional office space to work and also be part of major security decisions to be taken by the government.

“But unfortunately, none of his requirements (requests) was provided to him for over a year after he was sworn in as an adviser. Rather he would come to the Government House to hang around as other politicians do.

“He felt he should not be doing this as a serious-minded professional. So he decided to stay away pending when the government need(ed) his service, and for that reason, they said he did not show commitment. The office of adviser on security especially in a state like Borno that is at war should be a very smart office.”

The source, who insisted on not being quoted because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said the government later issued a letter to Mr Chiroma relieving him of his duty and “thanking him for his services”.

“It was an amicable disengagement and Chiroma personally thanked the Governor for the honour of being appointed in the first place.”

“We hope oga (Governor Zulum) would appreciate the enormity of that office and accord the new adviser, General Ishaq, maximum support to function as he promised.”

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