Counterterrorism: CSO lauds General Irabor over achievements
*Hails improved synergies among Nigerian Army,Air Force, Navy, others
*To launch Troops Support Initiative for Army
*Tasks Nigerians to rally support for troops to end insecurity
The Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPRI), a civil society group with a vested interest in peacebuilding in Nigeria, has commended the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, for leading the policy and operational initiative in the counterterrorism warfare.
The group also hailed the Chief of Army Staff, General Farouq Yahaya, for living up to expectations of Nigerians within the few months of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
GOPRI,in a statement, Tuesday, however, regretted that in spite of the tremendous achievements being recorded by the Nigerian Military, saboteurs were busy instigating the public with the view of painting negative pictures about the Nigerian Military, especially the Army.
To this end, the group, in the statement by its Executive Director, Amb. Melvin Ejeh has vowed to support the military with an initiative aimed at not only boosting its morale in the counterterrorism war but also changing public perception about it.
GOPRI’s statement came ahead of its launch of a support project, tagged: “Troop Support Initiative.”
The group noted that Lt. General Farouq Yahaya, within a few months of being on the saddle as Chief of Army Staff,has recorded commendable successes in the fight against terrorism, banditry and other forms of criminality across the country.
GOPRI explained that the initiative was aimed at rallying support for the Nigerian Military, “particularly the Nigerian Army in their continuous selfless roles to keep our dear and beloved country united.”
Ejeh described GOPR as “a registered indigenous Non-Governmental Organisation, with focus on peace-building, de-radicalization and community resilience architecture in North Central, North East, South East communities in particular and Nigeria at large.”
“Since inception, GOPRI with over 22 members of staff and over 5000 volunteers across the country and the Sahel, has according to its mandate, continued to promote lasting peace through advocacy, medical outreaches and capacity building workshops, as well as economic empowerment, touching over 36,060 ( thirty-six thousand and sixty) persons,”he said.
It further read:”As a civil society group with a vested interest in peacebuilding in Nigeria, we wish to commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Farouq Yahaya, over the achievements recorded by the Army, the military and other security agencies against terrorism, banditry and criminality in the country so far.
“GOPRI, in line with the revolutionary vision of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, which is building “A professional Nigerian Army Ready To Accomplish Assigned Missions Within A Joint Environment In Defence of Nigeria”, wishes to inform you of our support initiative, tagged, Troops Support Initiative.
“This programme is the first phase of a civil society initiative to attract unbiased supports for the Nigeria Army and our military who are working tirelessly and sacrificially in the defence of our dear nation. This initiative becomes not only imperative but also expedient because of continuous, deliberate malicious, cyber, physical and emotional coordinated attacks on our Army.”
Describing the Nigerian Army as “one that has earned its place in the enviable rank of world’s bests in terms of professionalism, courage, resilience and combat efficiency, with glowing tributes from her regional and global peace-keeping outings, as well as the management of the hydra-headed monster of insecurity within her borders”, the group noted that:” The Army deserves every accolade, encomium and support.”
“However, factors such as misguided social media reports, activities of desperate politicians’ inadequate media coverage, to ethnic, religious, political sentiment, some international media conspiracies have contributed immensely in giving the Army an unfair outlook.
“This is despite the unquantifiable sacrifice of our gallant officers and soldiers in the discharge of their sworn duties of protecting the nation’s territorial integrity,” it regretted.
“Owing to the negative public perceptions about the Nigerian Army which has been orchestrated by false narratives in some quarters, we are today, launching a programme tagged: “Troops Support Initiative” to project the service in good light, with a view to changing the long-held negative perception about the Nigeria Army,”it said.
The statement read:”It has become worrisome to us that some international organisations and local news media agencies have deliberately targeted the Army in their blackmails aimed at setting the Nigerian public in particular and the outside world in general against the Nigerian Army despite their successes and sacrifices for the unity of the country.
“We are, therefore, calling on all Nigerians, home and in the diaspora,to come together irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic differences to support our Army and other security agencies in the fight against crimes and insurgents in the interest of national unity. This is most important given that we have not just one country but also one Army.
“The proposed initiative will deepen the civil-military relationship and foster a positive and more balanced public perception of the Army.
“Some Nigerians have constituted themselves as the mouthpieces of the criminals, insurgents and bandits, hence the urgent need for these self-sponsored efforts through troop support programme to tell the untold story of our Army with a view to galvanizing well-meaning Nigerians to support our Army.
We do not have another Army and country.
“These deliberate attempts by these adversaries and their agents to discredit the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency, terrorism and criminality in the country should and must be resisted.
“We urge the Nigerian Army not to be deterred in its ongoing efforts to rid the country of terrorism and other forms of criminal acts in the country.
“it is high time the negative perceptions about the Nigerian Army and its troops was stopped in view of “the giant strides of the Nigerian Army in the direction of peace.”
It further read:”The Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPRI), strongly commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Farouk Yahaya, over the Nigerian Army success so far under his dynamic leadership.
“General Farouq Yahaya’s evolutionary vision to work towards building a professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria is both apt and timely.
“The Troops Support Project, we believe, will help in the realization of the above mandate.
“In this 21st Century service delivery, public image and perception are key ingredients. Today’s Nigeria is witnessing the colossal sacrifice of the Nigerian Army being gradually swallowed up by wrong perception, as false narratives are constantly sponsored in the media and general conversations by agents of disunity and some uninformed Nigeria’s hence this programme intends to bridge that gap.
“The project will involve radio programmes, community sensitization via town hall and village meetings, campus tours, world-class movie that will be aired on notable national, Africa and world-class television channels, documentaries and music videos, social media campaigns as well as an annual Nigerian Army Troops Celebration Day Programme.
” This, we believe, will boost the morale of servicemen and re-engineer community support and collaboration towards sustainable peace and national unity in Nigeria.
“We wish to use this medium to further commend the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor for his visionary leadership which is seeing the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies working in closer synergy than ever before. We also commend him for his initiative to reaching out to the retired veterans who are now part of the scheme in peacebuilding within their communities.
“Furthermore, we wish to express our gratitude to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao as well as the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, for their synergies in dealing decisively with trouble makers and proving nay-sayers and enemies of our dear nation wrong by downgrading the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency and rooting out banditry.
“To our troops, we cannot thank you enough for your sacrifices. This is why we must support you in your selfless efforts to rid out the nation of insecurity. We cannot wait for you to finish your mission in the frontline and return to your families in the barracks.”
He called on “Nigerians to demonstrate love for our troops bearing in mind the fact that without our troops, we are finished. We must do away with every form of negativities and change our mind-set in other to have a more peaceful and safe country.”