On Bolstering Military Potential Against Insecurity
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
It was unarguably the most auspicious event convened by the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, in the outgoing month.
For about four days, Asaba, the Delta State capital, attracted global attention, when a ‘Defence Retreat’ organized by DHQ, took centre stage.
There are several reasons why the retreat was timely. Nigeria’s insecurity has since assumed a frightening dimension.
From Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, terrorists in the North-East to bandits-terrorists in the North-West, Fulani herdsmen-killers in the North-Central, to vicious gunmen in the South-East, and kidnappers in the South-West, and militants in the South-South, Nigerians have never had it so bad, and nasty.
As things stands today, the entire populace is traumatised, fearful and demoralised, beyond imagination.
According to some civil society organisations, terrorists slaughtered 1,545 Nigerians between January and March. They also abducted 1,321 others, with Kaduna bearing the heavy brunt.
On different days in March, this year, 37 people were murdered in the Kaura, Giwa, Birnin-Gwari and Gurara local government areas. In a train attack in Kaduna, also in March, terrorists killed eight persons, while over 100 passengers are still unaccounted for.
In an editorial, The PUNCH wrote: “The North-West states of Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Katsina, once havens of peace, are under a bloody siege by terrorists and industrial scale kidnappers.
“In 2021, terrorists hiding under banditry tag abducted over 1,000 school pupils in the North. This is a region that is already home to a majority of the country’s 13 million out-of-school children.
“New York-based Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect calculated that between 2018 and 2020, terrorism claimed the lives of 4,900 persons in the North-West.
“Marauding herdsmen are spilling rivers of blood in the North-Central states. Niger Governor, Sani Bello, admitted that terrorists currently occupy swathes of the state, with Shiroro LGA the worst hit.
“Despite anti-open grazing laws in several states, rampaging herdsmen continue to kill and displace thousands. Boko Haram and its more deadly splinter, ISWAP, still rule parts of the North-East.
“Increasingly, they are spreading westwards and southwards, forging alliances with herdsmen and bandits. The South-East is another killing field.
“Criminals riding on the back of self-determination agitation have taken to terrorist tactics and seeking to impose their writ through illegal sit-at-home orders, murder and destruction of public facilities.
“Oil industry operators say over 80 of the crude extracted in the South-South is stolen. In the South-West, kidnapping is prevalent. So also are cult violence and gangsterism”.
Amid security threats facing the country, it is imperative to assert however that the government and security agencies have evolved and tinkered with diverse measures towards tackling criminal elements.
The Nigerian military, in particular, has launched several military operations across the country to fight terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for money, oil theft, pipeline vandalism, cattle rustling, among other heinous crimes.
It has, also, collaborated and participated in combat operations launched by sister security agencies, in the country.
Nevertheless, the deployment of military troops in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, for the sole aim of battling internal security is taking its toll on officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The maiden defence retreat in Asaba afforded the leadership of the Armed Forces an opportunity to unveil its ‘National Military Strategy’.
At the event, Gen. Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, expressed delight that the three services of the Nigerian military – the Army, Navy and Air Force – were recording operational feats, after keying into his leadership philosophy of fostering a professional armed forces capable of effectively meeting its constitutional imperatives.
Gen. Irabor, remarked that their Military Strategy, which was launched at the occasion by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, will help provide a platform for joint doctrines for the three arms of their military service to operate seamlessly and effectively.
He noted that the Nigerian Armed Forces has continued to evolve towards strengthening its potentials in order to suppress prevailing security challenges.
The Defence Chief further, disclosed that their Military Strategy document would served as a purview for the Army, Navy and Air Force in terms of administration, training, operations and logistics, among other aspects of military activities for optimal performance.
The CDS, also acknowledged the improved security situation across the country, noting that it will continue to get better.
Earlier, Magashi, a retired Major General, assured Nigerians of Federal Government’s commitment towards continuous improvement of the general security in the country.
He stated that the Asaba defence retreat was part of the deliberate efforts by the country’s Armed Forces, geared towards addressing pervasive insecurity.
He maintained that the retreat with the theme, “Shaping the Armed Forces of Nigeria for Current and Future Security Challenges,” was anchored on the strong desire of the CDS and the rest Service Chiefs to reposition the Armed Forces for optimum performance.
This, according to him, is in line with the Government’s aspiration to continue to make needed investments to ensure that the Service is an highly modernized force.
He added that the ongoing efforts by Government towards acquisition of armored vehicles, military aircraft and naval vessel, including training were intended to increase military equipment holding needed to prosecute the war, as well as enhance capacity building and defence cooperation with foreign partners in various countries.
Gen Magashi, further pointed out that technology plays significant role in combating the multifaceted asymmetric threats, disclosing that the recent deployment of Nigerian Navy FALCON EYE, as well as strategic unmanned aerial systems by the Nigerian Army and Air Force were recording huge inroads in the areas of cyber and forensic security.
Governor of Delta, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, in his remarks, said the retreat provided him the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the unwavering support of the military towards the maintenance of peace and security in the State.
Okowa, urged the Nigerian military leadership to use the opportunity offered by the retreat in reviewing its operations by perceiving new trends, evaluating information and strategy to combat emerging security challenges.
He lauded the pragmatic leadership quality of the current leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces led by Gen Irabor for his faithful stewardship, describing the attributes of his exemplary military career which includes commitment, hard work, dedication and loyalty as invaluable ingredients of success.
In the aftermath of the retreat, it is anticipated that new innovations and strategies will be harnessed to boost the operational efficiency of the Nigerian military, for it to meet current and future security challenges.
Kidnapped School ChildrenYauri FGC Students, Kebbi
376 days 1 minute 11 seconds,
Baptist School Students, Kaduna
358 days 1 hour 42 minutes 36 seconds
Tegina Islamiya Pupils, Niger (Freed)
Report By: PRNigeria.com