Re-Engaging Veteran Officers as Drivers of Peace and National Unity
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
Military officers, while still in active service, have a lot to do. In an era of tormenting insecurity, their plates becomes full. The present crop of officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces will have a lot to say, in this regard.
Yes, a lot to say about their role in tackling contemporary security threats in the country. A lot to disclose about their role in the counter-insurgency and anti-banditry operations.
A lot to verbalize about how they, together with their battalion of troops, “are having heartache” checkmating the activities of secessionist agitators and kidnappers, among others criminal elements. The plight of serving military officers, to put it mildly, is damn ‘sorry’.
But what about those who have since called their time with the Nigerian military? I mean those who have retired. The veterans! They, indeed, have nothing to worry about it, as they have neither a statutory nor constitutional responsibility to shoulder, again.
Hence, they are no longer in the frontline, battling either Boko Haram or the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, militias. They are no longer prosecuting military exercises launched to rid the country of banditry, abduction for ransom, piracy, to mention but few acts of criminalities.
But the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Gen. Lucky Irabor, has a new ‘job’ for them. He has urged military veterans to be drivers of peace, unity and progress within their neighbourhood.
The CDS made the appeal at a ‘One-Day Security Parley with Retired Senior Military Officers’ in the Southwest.
The security meeting which was tagged “CDS Interaction with Retired Senior Military Officers in the Southwest,” was organized by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ). It held at the Headquarters of 2 Division, Nigerian Army, in Oyo state.
The CDS averred that military veterans could become the mouthpiece of the AFN.
He noted that they are qualified and knowledgeable in defence and security matters to undertake the task of security enlightenment and sensitization in their domain.
Gen. Irabor, disclosed further that the AFN intend to leverage on the security meeting to boost the ongoing military operations.
He maintained that both serving and retired personnel are sold-out to the cause of unity, faith, peace and progress of the nation.
In his remarks, Chief of Defence Military Cooperation (CDCMIC), Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu, said the participants were expected to bring some salient issues to the attention of the DHQ and also proffer solutions.
He said the Southwest interactive meeting is being held in Ibadan due to the cosmopolitan nature of the city and Lagos, both experiencing series of emerging security threats.
Rear Admiral Ogu highlighted that the participants would deliberate on the various security challenges confronting the Southwest.
The CDCMIC further disclosed that the security parley would be replicated in the other five geo-political zones at selected state capitals and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In his welcome address, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Gold Chibuisi thanked the CDS for hosting the maiden edition of the security parley in Ibadan.
He noted that the parley was indeed apt and timely given the emerging security threats experienced in the city of Ibadan and its environs in recent months.
In many communities and towns across the country, ex-military officers, now are community and even first-class traditional leaders. They have to see it as an obligation to accept the challenge of the CDS.
They should undertake the task of security enlightenment and sensitization in their domains, reason been they are qualified and knowledgeable in defence and security matters.
Doing so, only necessitates them first, becoming drivers of the ‘unofficially and unheralded’ national campaign on fostering national unity, and peace, amid pervasive insecurity. And this must be sooner, than later.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is Assistant Editor, PRNigeria
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