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Be alert, vigilant, Army Chief charges troops

By Odita Sunday (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri
09 October 2021   |   4:15 am
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, has charged troops to be alert and vigilant while discharging their duties.

Nigerian Troops PHOTO:Twitter

• Theatre Commander Tasks War College On Effective Counter-Terrorism Strategies
• Winning War Against Insurgency Requires Collective Effort, Says Air Force Chief

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, has charged troops to be alert and vigilant while discharging their duties.

He gave the charge yesterday while addressing instructors at the Depot Nigerian Army, Nigerian Military School (NMS), Directorate of Army Physical Training (DAPT) and Army School of Physical Training (ASPT).

Yahaya reiterated that the current security challenges in the country calls for every Nigerian to be vigilant, urging them to conduct themselves professionally while adhering to the rules of engagement and standard operating procedures.

The COAS reassured the troops that since assumption of Command, he places high premium on the welfare of officers, soldiers and their families, adding that deliberate steps were taken to address the challenges associated with accommodation in Chindit Cantonment.

He further stated that in demonstration of his resolve, he embarked on the assessment visit to obtain first hand information on the level of renovation work going on in the cantonment.

He restated that welfare would continue to be given the desired attention under his watch.

He commended troops for their selfless service and urged them to keep the flag flying in defence of fatherland and service to humanity.

This, he said, was necessary to justify the confidence the President, Commander-in-Chief reposes on the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

In a similar development, the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, has tasked the War College on the development of effective and efficient counter-terrorism military operations in the Northeast.

According to him, the development of efficient war strategies could end the fight against Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed many lives and property in the region.

Musa spoke last Thursday while receiving the course five participants led by the Commandant of the War College, Maj. Gen. Solomon Udounwa at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, Borno State.

“The Army War College should come up with actionable operations plans for the success of the war against the insurgents,” he noted.

He added that the operational visit of officers to the theatre would add value to the ongoing military operations in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad Basin.

According to him, most of the participants were Lt. Colonels and Colonels who would soon take over leadership as Commanders to implement some of their recommendations to prosecute the ongoing war in the Northeast.

“You should think deeply and come up with a model that will stand the test of time,” he declared.

However, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has declared that the use of military force alone would not end insurgency in the country.

Speaking during a virtual interactive session with senior journalists, recently, where he was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations Headquarters, Nigeria Air Force (NAF), AVM James Gwani, he noted that the procurement of sophisticated military hardware would not be enough to suppress insurgency in the country.

Talking specifically on how the newly acquired Super Tucano aircraft would be deployed towards winning the war, he said: “Someone said that when they come, all the insecurity problems would be solved. I think this is a misunderstanding of air power and its role, particularly in the kind of operations we are conducting. Yes, the Super Tucanos have brought in a lot of bite to the fight, and I can tell you for a fact that the airplanes are currently operating in the Northeast.

“Just yesterday, I had a meeting with the Commanders and the vendors who supplied us the airplanes, to review the operations of the aircraft. I can tell you for a fact that there is a positive response as to the effectiveness of the operations of those airplanes in the theatre of operations.

“However, airpower alone cannot win this war. It will take a collective effort from the military, civil society organisations and all other stakeholders. While the Super Tucano will play a prominent role, let’s not sit back and think that it will end this war alone. It is not going to happen. It has to be a collective effort.”

On the aircraft that was shot down by terrorists in the North East, he disclosed that Air Force was still searching for it.

“I can tell you that the combat search and rescue is still ongoing. We are working with a lot of our foreign partners. We have had a series of meetings in the Airforce Headquarters, soliciting the support of not just our immediate neighbours but also our strategic partners in trying to locate where the aircraft went down. The process is ongoing and when the aircraft is found, we will tell Nigerians what really happened,” he said.

He also explained that the accidental air strike in Yobe that killed many innocent civilians was being investigated.

“All I can tell you is that the investigation is ongoing. It is a very painstaking process. We are in constant communication with the Yobe State government and once we are done with the investigations, Nigerians would be intimated on the outcome,” he added.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, who also spoke during the virtual session with select journalists, justified the establishment of a Naval Base in Kano, saying: “I would like to clarify that what was established in Kano was a logistics college. Granted, the establishment of this college has thrown off a lot of reactions, but it has also given us the opportunity to shed light on our establishment across the nation and some of the programmes that we have as far as developing capacity and providing support to CSOs is concerned.

“For clarity, the Nigerian Navy has a Finance and Logistics College located in Owerrinta, somewhere between Aba and Owerri. This college is responsible for training of personnel in the area of logistics and finance, but due to the development imperatives it was considered that the colleges should be separated.

“The Logistics College is now moved to Kano. The Finance College remains in Owerrinta. Before now, Owerrinta was not the only land-locked Naval establishment; we also had a Provost and Regulatory School in Makurdi where we trained our personnel in the area of Naval provost duties.

“However, it is not only these bases that mark our presence in the North. The Nigerian Navy is heavily involved in the anti-insurgency and internal security operations across the North. In the Northeast where we have the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Hadin Kai, we have 170 personnel that are fighting alongside the Army and Air Force to combat the threat we face. Equally, in the Northwest where we have the JTF Operation Hadarin Daji, the Navy has over 350 persons fighting to counter the insecurity issues there. In the North Central, we also have about 100 men working alongside our colleagues. Operation Safe Corridor, the outreach responsible for the management of surrendered terrorists and bandits that is working alongside other government agencies has about 15 Navy personnel. We also have our presence in Operation Safe Haven in the Plateau and Southern Kaduna to combat issues relating to herders and farmers clashes.

“Long before Kano, for about 10 years, we have been in the Northeast. We have been there in all the areas where we have security challenges. Beyond defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria, the Armed Forces have a responsibility to offer support to the civil authority to maintain law and order. The Armed Forces has been doing everything to develop capacity, in performing this secondary role.”