Nigerian Army Renames Counter-insurgency Campaign

Nigerian military is reforming its over a decade long counter-insurgency campaign in the Northeastern part of the country.

The Nigerian Army has renamed its counter-insurgency operation in the country’s Northeast from Operation Lafiya Dole to Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), designed to reflect the new posture of the joint military operation. 

The Army announced on Friday that Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who is a Lieutenant-General, approved the renaming. 

“This is premised on the fact that the Nigerian Army has made a lot of progress over the years and needs to re-align for better efficiency,” said Mohammed Yerima, the Army spokesperson.

In February, Abraham Adole, an Air Force Officer, was appointed as the new Deputy Commandant supporting the Theatre Commander,  Farouq Yahaya, an army officer and Major-General who took over in April 2020 from Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi.

HumAngle understands that the appointment and changes announced Friday were part of a series of internal reforms by the new military chiefs to promote cohesion and integration of the various services in military operations against armed groups.

This new posture, if successful, is expected to improve the integration of ground, naval and air forces in furtherance of the military’s mandate in the Northeast and Lake Chad Basin as well as other theatres of operation. 

Nigeria’s military operation which began as efforts to support civilian authorities to crush Boko Haram’s uprising quickly snowballed into assassinations, urban battles, capturing of towns and a decade-long bloody insurgency.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) initially formed to tackle the uprising and subsequent violence code-named Operation Restore Order I, II, and III were conducted in succession between 2011 and 2013.

On May 14, 2013, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in the three worst-affected states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, and expanded the JTF operations into Operation Boyona. 

Operation Boyona was later renamed Operation Zaman Lafiya in August 2013.

In 2015, Tukur Buratai, the former Chief of Army Staff launched Operation Lafiya Dole to replace Zaman Lafiya.

The operations in the Northeast against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) comprises the Army, Navy and Air Force conducting campaigns across vast terrain ranging from desert, marshy, riverine, Savannah forest and mountainous locations. 

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Education from the University of Abuja.

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