Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman
Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman

As you are all aware, the COAS First Quarter Conference took place from 16 – 18 March 2015 at the Army Headquarters Command Officers Mess, Asokoro Abuja. The conference appraised the general administration of personnel, ongoing operations across the country and took stock of Nigerian Army’s activities within the last 3 months. It also considered the Nigerian Army Development Plan in the next 20 years,   as well as preparations to ensure adequate security before, during and after 2015 General Elections. It was in furtherance of this commitment that a show of force by NA formations and units was held across the country on Saturday 21 March 2015.  Therefore, I must reiterate the level of preparedness of the NA to ensure adequate security before, during and after the elections.

 

Gentlemen, the successes of the Nigerian Army in the ongoing Counter Terrorist and Counter Insurgency Campaign in the North East and indeed other operations are hinged on troops’ discipline, patriotism and professionalism.  In this regard, I wish to inform you that our troops have in the last couple of weeks recaptured several towns and localities previously under siege of Boko Haram Terrorists in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.  This current effort has progressively pre-empted, dislocated and disrupted the terrorists’ activities thereby denying them freedom of action and degrading their capacity to cause mayhem in vulnerable communities.  The Nigerian Army has sworn that never again will it allow any group of terrorists’ covet an inch of the nation’s territory.

 

In its bid to continually increase capacity, the Nigerian Army has continued to acquire new equipment to prosecute the ongoing campaign against the Boko Haram Terrorists and other criminal elements.  Troops are now being trained locally and overseas in the handling of this equipment and to increase capacity.  In some cases, these training have been conducted in-theatre by foreign instructors.  I believe this is what has given rise to the false report about mercenaries in the North East.     Furthermore,   pre–induction training of troops in some selected military training institutions is also ongoing after which troops will be deployed to the theatre of operations. In addition, seminars and workshops on modern operations planning for officers and soldiers at Division and Brigade levels as well as subscription on courses particularly on Improvised Explosive Devices and Counter Terrorism training are ongoing.  All these are geared towards ensuring that troops are efficient and effective in discharging their assigned roles in furtherance of NA’s fulfilment of its constitutional mandate.

 

The provision of adequate medical services is an important part of the welfare programme of the Nigerian Army. Medical support contributes to the physical and mental capacity of troops in battle. To this end, our troops in the theatre of operations in the North East have continued to enjoy adequate medical care.  For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian Army casualty evacuation procedure starts from the collection point within the unit where casualty receive first aid from their comrades and where necessary casualties are then moved to the Medical Reception Station (MRS) and Divisional Hospitals for further treatment.  Exceptional cases are however referred and evacuated by air to Reference Hospitals. In case the Reference Hospital cannot manage the injury, such officer/soldier is evacuated abroad where adequate medical treatment will be administered.

 

So far, a total of 19 officers and soldiers have been successfully treated abroad. For effective monitoring of wounded soldiers evacuated to 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna, the  COAS has directed the Chief of Administration (Army) to visit the hospital fortnightly in order to ensure adequate medical  care/treatment  is given to the  wounded officers/soldiers on admission.

 

Similarly, the Nigerian Army has commenced payment of scholarship entitlement to children and dependants of all deceased personnel who died on active service.  The payment which started in February 2015, is scheduled for completion at the end of March 2015. For ease of administration and convenience, the beneficiaries are grouped into 20 batches of 50 each. The payment is based on approved criteria for sponsorship of eligible children of deceased personnel by the Nigerian Army.

 

Gentlemen of the press, let me seize this opportunity to  inform the general public and all interested candidates that online registration for the 73 Regular Recruit Intake into the Nigerian Army for both Trades/Non  Tradesmen   and   women    has    commenced    on    23 February 2015 and will end on 11 April 2015. Interested candidates are to apply online at the recruitment portal www.narecruitment.org. Applicants must possess the following qualification:

  1. A minimum of 4 credits in not more than 2 seatings in WASCE/GCE/NECO/NABTEB. One of the credits must be in English Language.
  2. In addition to above qualification, those applying as tradesmen/women must also possess OND/Trade Test/City and Guild Certificate.
  3. Be between the ages of 18 – 22 years for non tradesmen/women while tradesmen/women must be between the ages of 18 – 26 years by 1 June 2015.
  4. Be not less than 1.65 metres and 1.56 metres tall for male and female candidates respectively.

 

The recruitment exercise would commence with Pre-screening examination to be followed later by screening of short listed candidates at designated Zonal Centres nationwide.  All shortlisted applicants are to attend the Pre–screening examination at the centre of their choice as indicated in the website: www.narecruitment.org on 18 April 2015. Candidates that sat for the Pre–screening Examination are to check the website: www.narecruitment.org on 27 April 2015 for the list of successful candidates shortlisted to attend the Zonal Screening Exercise. The successful candidates from the Pre-Selection Examination are to attend the Zonal Screening Exercise at the designated Zonal Centres for their respective states from 4 May 2015. Candidates selected after the Zonal Screening Exercise will commence training immediately at Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria.  The public especially the interested persons are hereby advised in their own interest, not to give any form of gratification or inducement to any person or group of persons to assist them in the recruitment exercise.

 

Gentlemen of the press, the attention of this Headquarters has been drawn to an impostor on Facebook allegedly with the name Kenneth Tobia Minimah believed to be operated by one Emmanuel Monday. The said impostor has been using the name of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, to dupe unsuspecting members of the public by soliciting for money on the Facebook.  Please be informed that the COAS does not operate any Facebook account or any of the social media for that matter.  The general public is hereby advised to desist from transacting business or sending money to the impostor.  Anybody who transacts business with the impostor does so at his/her own risk.

 

Gentlemen, you would have noticed that recently some disgruntled and misguided retired officers have resolved to making spurious and unsubstantiated allegations against the Nigerian Army.  Some of these allegations are based on perceived cases of complain, partisanship and in security.  The Nigerian Army cannot begrudge them on their right to freedom of speech. But, we make haste to observe that people must exercise their rights with equal sense of responsibility.

 

The Nigerian army has endeavored to be fair to its personnel and retires its officers after due consideration to extant regulations considering such exercise and it is always ready to listen to anyone who has genuine grievances. Therefore, it is uncharitable for some retired officers to seek to destabilize and cast aspersion on the system.  I therefore, urge you to disregard these individuals who seek to politicize developments in the NA.

 

The Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate its unalloyed loyalty to the constitution and subordination to civil authority as presided over by His Excellency, President and Commander – in – Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR. The Nigerian Army also wishes to emphasize its adherence to the principles and respect for human rights in the discharge of its constitutional duties. The NA further calls on all Nigerians to remain vigilant and report any suspected breach of the peace to security agencies.

 

(Being a text of monthly press briefing by colonel  Sani Kukasheka Usman, Acting Director Army Public Relations at Chief of Army Staff Conference Room Army Headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday 25 March 2015)

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