|Birth||13 February 1956, Isuikwuato, Abia State, Nigeria|
Azubuike Ihejirika, CFR (born February 13, 1956) is a retired Nigerian Army lieutenant general and former Chief of Army Staff.
Background & education
He was born on February 13, 1956 in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State, Southeastern Nigeria.He was educated at Williams Memorial High School in Afugiri, a town in Umuahia North, Abia State where he obtained the London General Certificate in 1975 as well as the West African Senior School Certificate Examination with a grade I distinction. He is a member of the 18th Regular Combatant Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in December 1977 into the Corps of Nigerian Army Engineers (NAE). Ihejirika holds a BSc (Hons) in Quantity Survey from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and is an alumnus of military institutions such as the Command and Staff College, Jajii and the National War College.
General Ihejirika was on the Directing Staff at the Command and Staff College, Jajii and was Principal Staff Officer at the Defence and Army Headquarters. He also held various command appointments including:
- Commander 41 Division Engineers
- Acting General Officer Commanding, 1 Division
- General Officer Commanding, 81 Division
General Ihejirika was appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on September 8, 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan. He served as COAS for 4 years until his retirement on January 2014.
Life after military
After he retired as the Chief of Army Staff in January 2014, he returned to his hometown, Isuikwuato where he was honored with a chieftaincy title, ” Dike Abia” (in Igbo), the “Warrior of Abia” (In British English).
” I thought they will give me a chieftaincy title but they made me a king. I therefore dedicate this title to my commanders and soldiers who showed strength in the midst of daunting challenges”, he quoted.
Boko Haram sponsorship accusation
On August 2014, it was reported that he was among the sponsors of the deadly Islamic sect, Boko Haram alongside Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the former Executive Governor of Borno State, Nigeria. This allegation was made by the Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis who has been working with the Nigerian Security Agencies in the rescue of the abducted Chibok School Girls.
The authenticity of the allegation generated a lot of reactions across the Nation and some part of the neighboring countries.
The State Security Service (SSS) however absolved Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika of claims that he is a major financier of the Boko Haram sect and said that he was proved innocent of the allegation leveled against him by the Australian negotiator.
He has won several awards and honours, among others are;
- Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR awarded by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria
- The Forces Service Star (FSS) awarded by the Nigerian Army
- Meritorious Service Star (MSS) awarded by the Nigerian Army.
- Distinguished Service Star (DSS)awarded by the Nigerian Army.
- Grand Service Star (GSS)awarded by the Nigerian Army.
- Passed Staff College Dagger (psc(+))awarded by the Nigerian Army.
- Fellow National War College (FOC)
Estate seizure by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
On January 27, 2016, the anti-corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sealed off an estate along Jabi Airport road junction in Abuja, belonging to Azubuike Ihejirika. He is one of several top military officers implicated in the $2.1 billion arms scam involving the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.