Chief of Army Staff (Nigeria)

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has been the title of the professional head of the Nigerian Army since 1966.[1] Prior to 1966, the title was General Officer Commanding, Nigerian Army (GOCNA). Since 1980, the post has been immediately subordinate to the Chief of Defence Staff, the post held by the professional head of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The position is often occupied by the most senior commissioned officer appointed by the President of Nigeria.[2]

Chief of Army Staff
Seal for Chief of the Army Staff (Nigeria).svg
Seal of the Chief of Army Staff
Standard for the Chief of Army Staff (Nigeria).svg
Flag of the Chief of Army Staff
Farouk Yahaya.jpg
Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya

since 27 May 2021
 Nigerian Army
Member of
  • National Security Council
  • National Defence Council
Reports toChief of Defence Staff
SeatNigerian Army Headquarters, Abuja
AppointerPresident of Nigeria
Inaugural holderKenneth G. Exham
Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (indigenous)
(66 years ago)

The current Chief of Army Staff is Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, who succeeded Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, in May 2021 a few days after he died in an Air Crash.[3][4]


In the chain of command, the Chief of Army Staff reports to the Chief of Defence Staff, who in turn, reports to the Defence Minister, accountable to the President of Nigeria.[5] The Statutory duty of the Officer is to formulate and execute policies towards the highest attainment of National Security and operational competence of the force.[6]

Chiefs of the Nigerian ArmyEdit

Following is a chronological list of officers holding the position of General Officer Commanding (GOC) or Chief of Army Staff (COAS).[7]

General Officer CommandingEdit

No. Portrait General Officer Commanding Took office Left office Time in office Ref.
1Exham, KennethMajor general
Kenneth G. Exham
195619592–3 years
2Foster, NormanMajor general
Norman Foster
195919633–4 years
3Mackenzie, JohnMajor general
John Alexander Mackenzie
196319630 years
4Welby-Everard, ChristopherMajor general
Sir Christopher Welby-Everard
196319651–2 years
5Aguiyi-Ironsi, JohnsonMajor general
Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi
Later military ruler
196515 January 19660–1 years

Chief of Army StaffEdit

No. Portrait Chief of Army Staff Took office Left office Time in office Ref.
1Gowon, YakubuLieutenant colonel
Yakubu Gowon FSS
(born 1934)
Later military ruler
January 1966July 19666 months
2Akahan, JosephLieutenant colonel
Joseph Akahan OFR FSS
July 1966May 1968 †1 year, 9 months
3Katsina, HassanMajor general
Hassan Usman Katsina RCDS, PSC
May 1968January 19712 years, 8 months
4Ejoor, DavidMajor general
David Ejoor
January 1971July 19754 years, 6 months
5Danjuma, TheophilusLieutenant general
Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma
(born 1938)
July 1975October 19794 years, 3 months
6Akinrinade, IpoolaLieutenant general
Ipoola Alani Akinrinade CFR FSS
(born 1939)
later Chief of Defence Staff
October 1979April 19806 months
7Jalo, GibsonLieutenant general
Gibson Jalo CFR FSS, JSS
later Chief of Defence Staff
April 1980October 19811 year, 6 months
8Wushishi, MohammedLieutenant general
Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi CFR FSS
October 1981October 19832 years
9Babangida, IbrahimMajor general
Ibrahim Babangida
(born 1941)
Later military ruler
January 1984August 19851 year, 7 months
10Abacha, SaniLieutenant general
Sani Abacha GCON , DSS, mni
Later military ruler
August 1985August 19905 years
11Abacha, SaniLieutenant general
Salihu Ibrahim FSS , FHWC
August 1990September 19933 years, 1 month
12Gusau, AliyuLieutenant general
Aliyu Mohammed Gusau DSS, rcds
(born 1943)
September 1993November 19932 months
13Alli, ChrisMajor general
Chris Alli CRG, DSS, ndc, psc(+)
(born 1944)
November 1993August 19949 months
14Kazir, AlwaliMajor general
Alwali Kazir DSS, Usawc, psc(+)
(born 1947)
August 1994March 19961 year, 7 months
15Bamaiyi, IshayaLieutenant general
Ishaya Bamaiyi DSS, Usawc, psc(+)
(born 1949)
March 1996May 19993 years, 2 months
16Malu, VictorLieutenant general
Victor Malu DSS, mni, fwc, psc
May 1999April 20011 year, 11 months
17Ogomudia, AlexanderLieutenant general
Alexander Ogomudia
(born 1949)
Later Chief of Defence Staff
April 2001June 20032 years, 2 months
18Agwai, MartinLieutenant general
Martin Luther Agwai
(born 1948)
Later Chief of Defence Staff
June 2003June 20063 years
19Azazi, OwoyeLieutenant general
Owoye Andrew Azazi
Later Chief of Defence Staff
1 June 2006May 200711 months
20Yusuf, LukaLieutenant general
Luka Yusuf CFR, GSS, GPP, DSO, psc(+), fwc, Msc
June 2007August 20081 year, 3 months
21Dambazau, AbdulrahmanLieutenant general
Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau CFR, GSS, psc, ndc, fwc(+)
(born 1954)
August 2008September 20102 years, 1 month
22Ihejirika, AzubuikeLieutenant general
Azubuike Ihejirika CFR, GSS, psc(+), fwc, fniqs
(born 1956)
September 2010January 20143 years, 4 months
23Minimah, KennethLieutenant general
Kenneth Minimah GSS, psc(+), fwc
(born 1959)
January 2014July 20151 year, 6 months
24Buratai, TukurLieutenant general
Tukur Yusuf Buratai NAM, GSS, psc(+), ndc (BD)
(born 1960)
July 201526 January 20215 years, 6 months[8]
25Attahiru, IbrahimLieutenant general
Ibrahim Attahiru
26 January 202121 May 2021 †3 months[9][10]
26Yahaya, FaroukLieutenant general
Farouk Yahaya
(born 1966)
27 May 2021Incumbent1 year, 5 months[11][12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan sacks military chiefs". BBC News. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  2. ^ "President sacks Service Chiefs, names replacements". Daily Independent. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  3. ^ "ANALYSIS: With Attahiru's death, who becomes next Chief of Army Staff?". 2021-05-24. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  4. ^ "New Chief of Army Staff: Buhari appoint Major General Farouk Yahaya to replace late Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru". BBC News Pidgin. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Minimah, Jibrin, Amosu Appointed Service Chiefs". Thisdaylive. Archived from the original on July 14, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "Chief of Army Staff vows military will end insurgency". Premium Times. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Chronicle of Command". The Nigerian Army. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
  8. ^ George, Agba. "Major General TY Buratai New Chief Of Army Staff". Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Buhari don sack im service chiefs, appoint new ones - see di new ones here" – via
  10. ^ "Nigerian army chief Ibrahim Attahiru killed in air crash". BBC. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  11. ^ "New Chief of Army Staff: Buhari appoint Major General Farouk Yahaya to replace late Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru". BBC News Pidgin. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  12. ^ "Buhari names Major-General Farouk Yahaya as new army chief". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2021-05-27. Retrieved 27 May 2021.