The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Monday revealed that apart from the fight against insurgency in the North-east region, the Nigeria Army was strategising to curb the rate of kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers crisis, pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft bedeviling the country.
Buratai disclosed this in Yola, Adamawa State, during Combat Support Arms Training Week (COSAT) for 2017, saying the army would continue to sustain efforts towards adequately equipping units and formations to enhance military capacity to eliminate contemporary challenges and threats in the country.
“We all know that the contemporary challenges Nigeria is trapped with include insurgency, kidnapping, herdsmen crisis, pipeline vandalism which have made it imperative for all agencies to synergise and find solutions,” he stated.
The COAS pointed out that to bring to an end the destruction by terrorists in the country, the Nigerian army has held the Small Arms Combatmanship at the newly constituted Abu Ali shooting range in Sambisa forest, the proposed headquarters of the terrorists.
The Nigerian Army COMBAT support arms training in an annual event organised on rotational bases among artillery, engineers, signals and intelligence corps to review and restrategise on operations as well as demonstration on constabulary.
He, however, attributed the successes of the military in degrading Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east region to adequate funding by President Muhammedu Buhari administration.
Buratai further explained that the financial support was responsible for the remarkable improvement in the operation capacity of the troops.
The army boss also said improved funding as well as logistic planning and execution in the operation have boosted the morale of troops which resulted in forcing the insurgents to flee their hide out and surrender on a daily basis.
The state Governor, Muhammadu Jibrilla Bidow, assured the army that his government would give necessary supports to the military in the state and neighboring state as well.
Bindow lauded the resilience demonstrated by the COAS in fighting the terrorists, describing it as commendable and worth national and international awards.
Meanwhile, following the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks, where scores have been killed by the terrorists in the North-east, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has invited Israeli military to train special forces to combat terrorism in the country.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, explained that the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, approved the training of 450 carefully selected Regiment personnel as NAF Special Forces to be trained in three batches.
Adesanya stated that the first batch had been flagged off formally last weekend.
He said: “The training is taking place at the NAF Regiment Training Centre in Kaduna but is being conducted by Four-Troop, a reputable foreign military training organisation from Israel.
“It is aimed at further developing the capacity of the personnel to fight under all types of terrains and weather conditions.
“At the end of the nine-week course, successful participants would be deployed to defend NAF air assets and bases as well as critical national infrastructure and assets like airports and oil installations among others.”
Adesanya explained that “the Special Forces would also be required to take the battle to the adversaries whenever necessary.”
Earlier, the Commandant of the NAF Regiment Training Centre, Group Captain Isaac Subi, had disclosed that the NAF Regiment Specialty was a blend of the Army Infantry and Artillery Corps.
He also described the Special Forces as an invaluable adjunct to conventional forces and that they are capable of sophisticated, specialised and measured response in a complex air-ground environment covering both land and sea areas.
The decision to invite the Israelis to conduct the training in Nigeria, in conjunction with other Nigerian instructors, rather than conducting the training overseas, is aimed at further developing the instructional capacity of NAF personnel while also saving the nation additional expenses in foreign currency.
While flagging off the training of the first batch of 150 personnel, the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Samson Akpasa, stated that a robust counter-force to respond to any contingency was vital in Nigeria’s contemporary security environment, which was characterised by insurgency, militancy, oil theft, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other vices.
In another development, the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) yesterday appealed to the federal government to make use of negotiation strategy towards meeting the demands of the Boko Haram sect in order to ensure the quick release of its members recently abducted by the sect.
Some members of the association, working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), among other professionals, were killed and others abducted by the Boko Haram members last Tuesday during an oil exploratory work near the shores of Lake Chad.
Since then, the affected members of the association are yet to be released by the sect.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, the National President of the association, Professor Silas Sunday Dada, said negotiation method had shown to be more effective and life saving than use of force.
Dada, who commended efforts of the present administration and its renewed confidence in tackling the Boko Haram issue once and for all, said that the recent sustained offensive by the Boko Haram group was to openly challenge and contest the government’s story on their degradation.
According to him, “It is saddening to observe that the celebrated claim by the Nigerian military for about a year now, over the ‘degradation of Boko Haram’ which created the flippant impression that the rebellious group has been demoralised, demobilised, defeated, and vanquished, was far from being true after all, as recent happenings have proved otherwise.”
He said: “Although, the need to grow Nigeria’s crude oil reserves must have motivated the government to intensify efforts on oil exploratory work in the inland Chad basin and Benue trough areas, Nigerians deserve to know the real reason why NNPC decided to embark on the Maiduguri suicide mission of searching for crude oil at Shekau’s backyard at a time when production level has climbed to 2.2 million barrels per day. Sadly enough, this daredevil stunt has unjustifiably created a new set of widows and fatherless children.”
The NMGS, which said huge amount of funds and human resources committed to fight insurgency to a standstill by the present administration largely underscored the successes recorded so far, however, noted that the story of Boko Haram insurgency might have been different today if the previous administration had handled the saga the way the present administration was doing.
“Corruption in the security agencies and human rights abuses committed by them during the previous administration have hampered efforts to counter the unrest and nip it in the bud. Those saddled with the constitutional obligations of protecting the lives and property of citizens of the Nigerian state as well as its territorial integrity chose to do otherwise as evident in recent revelation of how the state resources meant to fight the Boko Haram insurgency was diverted for personal use,” he said.
Insurgency: AU Peace Council Visits Osinbajo on Fact-finding Mission Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Probably concerned by the upsurge of terrorist attacks in North-eastern Nigeria in recent times, African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC), yesterday visited Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the State House, Abuja.
The delegation, led by its Chairman for the month of July, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, who is also Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and AU, visited Nigeria on a fact-finding mission on the crisis as part of its mandate.
Adeoye, according to a statement by acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s media aide, Mr. Laolu Akande, the PSC delegation had been visiting the four countries in the Lake Chad Basin in the past five weeks, disclosing that it had specifically visited seven cities in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
“This visit is the high point of our mission,” Adeoye stated, adding that Nigeria’s commitment to peace in Africa had been well demonstrated.
The PSC of the AU is the standing organ of the union for prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. Membership of the 15-member council comprises three members each from central, eastern, northern, southern and western Africa.
In his submission, Osinbajo, while receiving a delegation, said:
“The Lake Chad Basin collaboration is one we are extremely proud of, where we as Africans are working together on our own issues. I am pleased to say the countries have worked greatly together.”
He cited the progress of the Multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) set up to address the insurgency.
Osinbajo noted that unlike in the past when there were difficulties over attempts by the militaries of the four countries to work together, the MNJTF surmounted the challenges and has succeeded.
The acting President said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was “extremely pleased with what we have seen, and we like to see more.”
However, he observed that the humanitarian consequences of the insurgency are compounded by deep poverty, thus making the costs of dealing with the situation “huge and enormous.”
He recalled that there are about 2.4 million displaced persons; extensive destruction of property, infrastructure, schools, homes and farmland. In some cases, he said the situation required the “rebuilding of whole societies.”
But he expressed satisfaction with the work of the Peace and Security Council of the AU. “I am extremely pleased and encouraged by the work of the PSC as well as the time and attention paid to this issue. These are matters we must address now and in the future.”