BY DAVID TARKAA |
The over a decade war against insurgency has claimed the lives of many including military personnel, rendered many orphans, and sent thousands of people to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the Northeast.
On the side of the military, most of such deaths occur due to buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by terrorists which have led to casualties and also threatened gains made in the war against Boko Haram terrorists.
However, while Armoured Personnel Carrier (APCs) and Mine-resistant Armoured protected (MRAPs) have played a key role in protecting personnel, their supplies have so far been grossly inadequate for the Nigerian Army. Consequently, buried IEDs are posing a threat to the war against insurgency which has deferred military actions but that may just become a thing of the past as all hands are currently on deck to tackle the menace.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, while speaking at the just concluded combined ‘Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and the Nigerian Army Retreat 2021’said concerted effort is being made to eliminate the threat of IEDs, which has been a major impediment to troops and Nigerian Army operations in OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE
He said that the retreat provides a platform to reassess the threat to the environment and review Nigerian Army operations to identify gaps that could be addressed in the planning and conduct of future operations.
He also ordered the withdrawal of damaged and unserviceable equipment from the North East Theatre as well as the purchase of spare parts to repair them.
Attahiru said the Nigerian Army under his watch remains resolute in decisively dealing with threats confronting the country, adding that the service will soon receive combat enablers that would help boost operations across the country.
He continued: “In this regard, I want to state that the Nigerian Army under my watch will remain resolute in decisively dealing with any threat confronting the country. Hence, I have directed that serious attention must be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country. Commanders must therefore glean from my command philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of Nigerian Army formations and units are sustained and improved upon.”
He said he is aware of logistics constraints affecting operations across the country and informed that the President, Commander in Chief has pledged to continue to support the Nigerian Army.
“As I speak, we will soon be receiving combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations. A concerted effort is also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations in OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE. Again, to increase our operational capabilities, I have approved the purchase of spare parts and directed that damaged and unserviceable equipment in the theater be fixed immediately,” he said.
He also directed that serious attention should be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country.
Attahiru noted that he is determined to rebuild the fighting skills, capacity, confidence, and morale of troops across the various theaters of operations.
“In line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive and my intent to rebuild the Nigerian Army into a formidable force, I conceived the vision of having ‘A Nigerian Army that is repositioned to professionally defeat all adversaries in joint environment.’ To breathe life into this vision, I released my philosophy of command which has readiness, capacity, continuous leadership development, and duty to the country as cardinal pillars.
“Readiness entails mission-oriented training, functional manning, and equipping while capacity will be built on the dependability of the Nigerian Army to accomplish any mission in line with norms enshrined in our core values and ethics. Continuous leadership development on its own will ensure that the Nigerian Army continues to roll out innovative 21st-century commanders and of course, duty entails loyalty and sacrifice to our fatherland. As formation commanders and Principal Staff Officers, your role is critical to the attainment of my vision. Therefore, I implore all of you to immediately key into the vision so that together, we can take the Nigerian Army to greater heights.
“I will ensure that through functional training, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are equipped with the right competencies and skills to effectively undertake daring missions in addition to developing special operations forces.
“This would be closely followed by procurement that ensures appropriate kitting and provision of protective gear, weapons, equipment, and platforms,” he said.
The COAS said the welfare of troops will also be given paramount attention.
“Let me remind you all that, while no effort will be spared in achieving these goals, it is command responsibility to ensure the sustenance and maintenance of all equipment while measures must be emplaced to ensure sound administration of troops and their families,” he added.
He lauded officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army for their unrelenting sacrifice and efforts in ensuring that the Nigerian Army fulfils its constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “I will continue to demand that you redouble your efforts so that we can decisively deal with our adversaries or any group or person that threatens the peace and stability of our great nation.”
He expressed gratitude to the President, Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari for his unrelenting support to the Nigerian Army.
He also pledged his unalloyed loyalty and that of soldiers of the Nigerian Army to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I wish to humbly convey my gratitude to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (Grand Commander of the Federal Republic) for his unrelenting support to the Nigerian Army. I want to use this platform to again pledge my unalloyed loyalty and that of every officer and soldier of the Nigerian Army to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the President Commander in Chief,” he added.
The COAS insisted that the Nigerian Army is making progress in its efforts to address the myriad of security challenges confronting the nation.
Attahiru further implored commanders to sustain the tempo of operations and maintain the posture that will create the enabling environment for peace and socio-economic activities to thrive, across the country.
“The operation retreat, particularly, afforded us the opportunity to appraise all Nigerian Army ongoing operations in different parts of the country such as our operations against the activities of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) armed banditry and militancy, among other violent crimes.
“The conference equally afforded me the opportunity to communicate my vision and also outlining my strategic plan for the year 2021 to principal staff officers, Corp Commanders, as well as Field Commanders.
“It is expected that with this strategic guidance, commanders and staff officers will go back to their commands and schedules to strategize on how to craft operations and training, amongst other activities that will nest into building appropriate capabilities for the Nigerian Army as we pursue our end state of attaining sustainable peace and stability across the country,” he said.