PROFILE: Major General Taoreed Lagbaja: New head of Nigerian Army

President Bola Tinubu replaced Nigeria’s army, navy, air force and defence chiefs on Monday, a widely anticipated move as the former Lagos State governor makes security his “optimum priority.”

The president approved their replacements with immediate effect.

Mr Tinubu appointed Taoreed Lagbaja, a major general, as the new Chief of Army Staff to replace Farouk Yahaya who alongside other outgoing service chiefs was retired from the military.

Mr Lagbaja was born in Ilobu, Irepodun Local Government Area of Osun State on 28 February 1968. He lived his early life in Osogbo where he attended St Charles Grammar School and Local Authority Teachers College.

The new army chief was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1987 as a member of the 39th Regular Course. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 19th September 1992 into the Nigerian Infantry Corps.

Between 1992 and 1995, Mr Lagbaja was platoon commander of the 93 Battalion. From 1995 to 2001, he was platoon commander of 72 Special Forces Battalion. In 2001, Mr Lagbaja obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the Nigerian Defence Academy. He studied Strategic Studies at the US Army War College at the Master’s level.

He was an instructor at Nigerian Defence Academy between 2001 and 2004. At one time, Mr Lagbaja was a Grade 2 Staff Officer in charge of peacekeeping at the Army Headquarters Department of Army Training and Operations. Then he was a Directing Staff at Armed Forces Command and Staff College from 2006 – 2009.

By 2009, he became Deputy Chief of Staff G1 at Headquarters 81 Division and subsequently, he became Commanding Officer at 72 Special Forces Battalion Makurdi from 2012 to 2013 and 2014 to 2015.

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In 2016, he was named the Chief of Staff at Headquarters 8 Task Force Division, Monguno. He served as Director of Operations at the Army Headquarters Department of Army Training and Operations from January – December 2018.

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He was a Commander of Headquarters 9 Brigade, Ikeja, Lagos State and Headquarters 2 Brigade, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Before his new appointment, Mr Lagbaja was General Officer Commanding Headquarters 82 Division from March 2021 – August 2022 and Headquarters 1 Division – from August 2022 – June 2023.

Earlier in 2008, he attended the Military Observers Course on Peacekeeping Wing at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry Jaji (February – May 2008) and ECOWAS Standby Force Battalion Command Post Course – Peacekeeping Centre, Bamako, Mali – (June – August 2010).

He started his career as a second lieutenant and he is currently a major general, a rank he has held since September 2019.

Mr Lagbaja participated in Operation HARMONY IV in Bakassi Peninsula; United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC); Operation ZAKI Internal Security Operation in Benue State; Operation LAFIYA DOLE; Operation MESA/Operation UDO KA – March 2021 – August 2022 – Internal Security Operation in South-east Nigeria (Anambra/Abia/Ebonyi/Enugu and Imo States); and Operation FOREST SANITY – Aug 2022 to 2023 – Internal Security Operation in Kaduna/Niger states.

He is married to Mariya Abiodun-Lagbaja and the marriage is blessed with 2 children. Mr Lagbaja enjoys watching documentaries and reading biographies.

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