That ‘National Military Strategy’ Document Unveiled in Asaba
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
The Nigerian Armed Forces has been in the fore front of tackling pervasive insecurity in the country. Its troops are the ones prosecuting the counter-insurgency operation against terrorist groups in the North East.
In the North West and Central a military exercise codenamed Operation Hadarin Daji has been ongoing for over three years now. It was launched to clip the wings of marauding armed bandits, and criminals abducting persons for ransom.
Sea pirates, oil thieves, militia groups, ritualists, armed robbers, kidnappers and a host of other criminal elements, terrorizing the Southern part of the coutry, are meeting their waterloo in the hands of military troops.
In order to consolidate the aforementioned successes and tackle other emerging security threats, the leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces has developed a policy document to boost its fight against insecurity.
Tagged National Military Strategy, NMS, the strategic document is expected to serve as a compass for future preparations in military engagement and for the containment of security challenges in the country.
Unveiled recently at a Defence Retreat in Asaba, Delta State, NMS, is an initiative of the nation’s Service Chiefs.
Minister of Defense, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), performed the launch of the document at the opening ceremony of the retreat organized by the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Leo Irabor.
In his welcoming address, Gen. Irabor, said that the four-day brainstorming event by top echelon of serving and retired military officers (held between 9 to 13 May 2022) would help to reshape the military towards fighting future security challenges.
He remarked that the ultimate desire of everyone at this crucial time in our national history was to rid the country of security threats, and to sustain public confidence in the military.
“On assumption of duty as the Chief of Defence Staff, I realised the urgent need to consolidate on the achievements of my predecessors and reinvigorate our desire to defend the territorial integrity of our nation with new ideas while strengthening cohesion within the Armed Forces and cooperation with other security agencies.
“I therefore, needed to work within a philosophy that would “Foster a Professional Armed Forces capable of effectively meeting its constitutional imperatives”.
“Delightfully, the Services keyed into this leadership philosophy and together we have continued to achieve tremendous progress.
“Undeterred by the prevailing security challenges across several regions of the country, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has continued to evolve creative ways of strengthening our potentials.
“It was identified that we need to give definite and unambiguous direction to the development of our doctrines that will enable us operate seamlessly and effectively.
“Hence, the National Military Strategy was developed to provide a platform upon which our joint and respective Services doctrines will stand,” Irabor stated.
The Defence Chief, said that the implementation of these strategies would not achieve the much desired goals if stakeholders do not open a less theoretical means of forging ahead.
“Thus, the need to share our practical experiences and address thorny issues that bother the Defence Headquarters and the 3 Services, in our quest to meet the constitutional roles for the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
“The Defence Retreat is thus designed to be very engaging and interactive (with no-holds-barred), in line with my desire for decision making to be a collective approach of active participation.
“This Retreat, therefore, seeks to not only concentrate on the current security issues, but to begin to plan and strategically pivot on how to fight the ‘Future Wars’.
“I am also quite conscious of the third objective of this Retreat, which is to boost cohesion, mutual respect and the spirit of togetherness/collectiveness in our noble profession, as battles and wars become more of joint operations,’’ he said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his sterling support to the armed forces and pledged the unalloyed loyalty and total commitment to ensure that security of lives and property that would endear the prosperity of the Nigerian citizenry was provided.
Also speaking at the occasion, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, urged the Nigerian military to intensify its civil-military relations to enhance information gathering from the communities, and advised that “in addition to developing a technologically-driven security architecture for the country, the armed forces should make it a priority to proactively engage and partner with our communities.
“In spite of the difficult circumstances in which they work, and the operational hazards associated with fighting insurgency, I dare say the Armed Forces have maintained a commendable civil-military relationship.
“It is my view that deepening this relationship will procure victory faster because national security is a shared responsibility, and it is incumbent on the military hierarchy to, as much as possible, integrate communities in their plans and operational strategies.
“As we have seen in other countries where insurgency has been contained, the locals are invaluable when it comes to intelligence gathering and logistical support.
“It is counter-productive and certainly does not augur well for the war on terror where there is distrust and suspicion between the people and the military, as has sometimes been the case.
“The asymmetrical nature of the war demands deliberate and sustained efforts to cultivate and sustain the friendship, cooperation, support, and loyalty of the people.
“They also need assurances that their identity and safety as informants will not be compromised.”
Okowa, lauded Gen. Irabor, for his outstanding military accomplishments, describing him as “a great patriot who has made us proud in various ways through his faithful stewardship in the Nigerian Army.’’
“My dear General, I must say that your exemplary military career sends a very powerful message that hard work, dedication, patience, and loyalty are invaluable ingredients of success.
“It is my prayer that your career will end in a blaze of glory,” he added.
The Governor, acknowledged and appreciated the unwavering support of the various services of the Nigerian Armed Forces towards the maintenance of peace and security in Delta State.
He said: “We owe a world of gratitude to the armed forces, which in synergy with other security agencies, have worked to create the enabling environment for growth and development.
“This retreat is very imperative because it will always be expected of the armed forces to review their operational strategies, perceive trends, evaluate information, and consider strategy in view of emerging security threats.
“The current security challenges in the country are multifaceted, but I have no doubt in the capacity of the Nigerian Armed Forces to overcome them”.
The retreat with the theme, “Shaping the Armed Forces of Nigeria for Current and Future Security Challenges,’’ was attended by Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Zubairu Adamu and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amao, among others.
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