DHQ: Boosting Defence Capabilities
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
Countries like Nigeria whose defence capacity may not be among the world’s best, surely needs to do everything possible to empower both its military, and military forces.
The country is far from winning the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, terrorism. The two terrorist sects are still holding the North East, and in extension, Nigeria, by their jugulars.
In the North Central and West zones, armed banditry has since assumed a frightening dimension, in the last few years. Schools have been closed as a result of the menace of schoolchildren abduction for ransom.
The South South, South West and South East, have all not been spared from the orgies of violence and other sundry criminalities. The regions and their people at the mercy of kidnappers, militants, violent secessionist groups, armed robbers, cultists, and other criminal elements.
- Security agencies saddled with the responsibility of quelling violent crimes, in the country, abound. These agencies, however, seemed to be overwhelmed. They have somewhat relinquished the task, assignment, mandate and responsibility (of protecting lives and properties) entirely to the Nigerian military.
The Nigerian troops are massively in the North East prosecuting the counter-terrorism war, since 2009. In the North West and Central, it is military troops who are deployed majorly in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna, Kogi, and even the FCT, to pound armed bandits.
We have military troops patrolling the creeks and towns in the Niger Delta, South East and South West States. Their sole mission: annihilate every militant groups, kidnappers, robbers, cultists, among other miscreants.
There is ample evidence to buttress the reality that the country’s military, alone, cannot decisively rid the country of insecurity, by relying solely on the gallantry of its troops.
Experts have advocated that the Nigerian Armed Forces must boost its defence capacities to ‘doggedly’ confront and ‘fearlessly’ tackle–permanently–contemporary security challenges, threatening the country’s fragile peace and unity.
The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, under the leadership of Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Defence, has taken several proactive steps towards boosting the capacity of personnel and troops of the military.
Irabor, who is less than a year in office as the CDS has met with some Defence Chiefs of other world countries, exchanging ideas and proffering solutions to regional, continental and global security issues.
He has also signed vital Memorandum of Understandings, MoUs, in the area of defence collaboration and bilateral security cooperation with Heads and Envoys of military forces of some advanced nations.
Gen. Irabor recently expressed the readiness of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to sustain the existing strategic partnership with the California National Guards (CNG), aimed at boosting defence capabilities of both countries.
The CDS gave the assurance during the visit of the Adjutant General of California National Guard, Major General David Baldwin to the DHQ, in Abuja.
Areas of cooperation discussed during the visit, included; training on air and ground integration, communication, training on military intelligence, military justice system and enhancement of Judge Advocacy training for legal officers.
Other areas of cooperation are: military decision making process, with emphasis on train the trainer to enhance the capacity of subordinates on tactical and operational responsibilities.
The empowerment of Non-Commissioned officers towards making them understand their roles and Gender Mainstreaming training towards improving the roles and opportunities of female personnel in the military profession was also discussed.
The emerging critical areas discussed were: training of personnel on cyber warfare, including cyber defence, cyber hygiene and protection of own network.
Partnership on space project, defence transformation and innovation and information warfare were also considered during the visit.
Speaking at the meeting, Gen Irabor acknowledged that a lot of value has been added to the AFN partnership with CNG and assured the delegation that the partnership would be sustained.
He equally expressed his appreciation to the United States Government and her military for showing interest in the issues relating to Nigeria. He noted that the US overall national disposition is partly towards the AFN strategic engagements.
He pointed out that sustainable peace in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large would be addressed with these interventions.
The Defence Chief expressed delight that the CNG has made significant impacts in relations to the terms of partnership agreement.
This, he noted are the areas that are still outstanding that will be addressed soonest.
The Adjutant General of California National Guard, Major General David S Baldwin, earlier in his remarks, said he was ready to expand the partnership which began in 2008.
The Adjutant General further noted that the CNG intends to expand what he described as joint arena in air and ground integration for the benefits of both Services.
According to him, the CNG and the AFN would share their common experience on human capacity development.
The significance of the fruitful partnership discussion between Gen. Irabor and Gen. Baldwin, at a time like this, cannot be over-emphasized. There is need to ensure that the implementation of the mutual commitments follows immediately. Nothing should cause any delay.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is an Assitant Editor with PRNigeria
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