Meet The New Chief Of Defense Staff (CDS), Maj. Gen. LEO Irabor

The office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is the highest office in the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN). The CDS superintends over the 3 services of the AFN: Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air force. In this capacity, the CDS, as the foremost military commander in Nigeria, requires personal dynamism and charisma capable of moulding the AFN into an efficient professional fighting force.

The current CDS, Major General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor was born on 5 October 1965 in Aliokpu Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria.

Educational and Military Courses:

The Major General gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna as a member of the 34 Regular Course in 1983 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 28 June 1986 into the Signals Corps of the Nigerian Army.

Major General Lucky Irabor attended several military and civil courses both locally and abroad. He attended Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) for his Junior Staff Course in 1995 and Ghana Armed Forces Staff College Teshi, Accra Ghana for Senior Staff Course in 2000/2001 amongst other several military courses.

Major General Lucky Irabor equally attended National Defence College in Bangladesh in 2010 and Harvard Kennedy Schools of Government and Executive Education, USA in 2012 and 2017 respectively.

Others include United Nations and African Union Peace Keeping Courses and Conferences as well as a seminar on Combatting Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism at the European Centre for Security Studies in Garmish, Germany.

Major General Lucky Irabor is a trained Engineer from Obafemi Awolowo University and holds two Masters Degrees from University of Ghana, Accra and Bangladesh University of Professionals, Dhaka.

Awards and Honours Received:

The Honours and Awards that Major General Irabor earned in the course of his career include Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS) and Grand Service Star (GSS). Others include Command Medal and Field Command Medal (FCM).

He was also awarded the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping medals for operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as medals for United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Appointments Held:

Major General Lucky Irabor has held several appointments in the course of his career. Notable amongst which are Nigerian Defence Academy Adjutant, Commanding Officer 515 Signal Regiment, Commander 53 Signals Brigade and Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Army Staff.

Others include Coordinator Nigerian Army Aviation, Deputy Theatre Commander/Land Component Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Force Commander MNJTF, Chief of Defence Training and Operations.

As Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Major General Irabor was responsible for the capture of Alargano Forest – the claimed spiritual base of Boko Haram Terrorists. He also planned and executed the conduct of Operations CRACK DOWN 1 and 2, RESCUE FINALE and DEEP PUNCH which led to the clearance of SAMBISA FOREST, destruction of Boko Haram Terrorist (BHT) camps and enclaves, capture of several weapons, vehicles and equipment belonging to BHT as well as rescued well over 20,000 civilians abducted by BHT, including 2 Chibok Girls.

Furthermore, the impact of the operations he conducted forced the BHT to release a total of 103 Chibok Girls in two instances. As Force Commander MNJTF, the Senior Officer successfully conducted Operation AMNI FAKAT to clear the Lake Chad Region of BHTs, an operation that put paid to the clearance and domination of Gashigar, Arege and Metele, as well as the liberation of several hostages amongst others.

The Defence Chief is a very committed trainer and disciplinarian. His sterling qualities have won him several commendations as well as his appointment as Force Commander Multi-National Joint Task Force.

Until his appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Irabor was the Commander, Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army.

Major General Lucky Irabor is widely travelled. He is happily married and blessed with children. His hobbies include reading, jogging and listening to good music.

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