He told the officers in Abuja that “the war against terror must be won in this country” and that he was convinced the government had selected “the right team to salvage this country at this time”.
“You must not disappoint Nigerians,” he said.
The previous chief of defence staff and the three heads of the army, navy and air force were dismissed on January 16, two days after a car bomb ripped through a market in Maiduguri, killing 19.
The capital of Borno state, in northeast Nigeria, was also targeted in early December last year, when Boko Haram fighters stormed military installations near the city’s airport.
The fight against the Islamist group, deemed an international terrorist organisation by the United States, is Nigeria’s most pressing security concern.
Thousands have died in Boko Haram attacks against schools teaching a “Western” curriculum, churches and elsewhere as well as in the counter-insurgency operations by the military.
A state of emergency imposed in Borno and two other northeastern states in May has seen attacks reduced in towns and cities, but violence is still frequent in more remote, rural areas.
Nigeria’s new chief of defence staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, said on January 20 that the violence “must be brought to a complete stop before April 2014”.
The defence ministry said on Tuesday that Badeh’s remarks should not be interpreted as a literal deadline. (AFP)