By Augustine Ehikioya
To continue to sustain security of lives and properties across the country, a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army, Muhammad Aliyu, has listed some critical measures the new government of President Bola Tinubu must not relegate to the background concerning procurement of security equipment.
He also mentioned some pitfalls the new government should avoid in the provision of materials and resources for the security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army.
Gen. Aliyu, who had fought war at its intensity in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the North East of Nigeria, declared that it is not just enough providing the Nigerian Army with new equipment.
Stressing that more has to be done in an exclusively interview with Security Watch Africa (SWA), Gen. Aliyu, who was the former Chief of Defence Standard and Evaluation at the Defence Headquarters, warned the government never to weigh its pocket when spending on security.
Noting that security across the globe is not cheap, he said it is not just equipping an Army and expecting it to perform wonders, but it must go beyond equipping to restocking, maintenance and incentives for the operatives of the equipment.
Asked to suggest what the new government can do to improve on the security situation on ground, Gen. Aliyu, who had accident in active service, said “If you want your surbodinate to perform, you must give him the incentive, otherwise you cannot hold him accountable.
“If the government equips the Army and does not provide a way for that Army to be resupplied, for the equipment that were given to be refurbished or maintained, and the people operating those things, the incentives for them to feel happy doing their job, then you are not doing anything. This is what the government should focus on.
“They must not measure the weight of their pocket when spending on security. It is not possible. They should also know that whatever they provide will not last forever. It requires maintenance or requires replacement,” he stated.
Assessing the performance of the incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General, Faruk Yahaya, so far, he said he has done very well in the past two years.
According to him, God has used Gen. Yahaya to salvage a situation in Nigeria.
He said “I think that God has just salvage a situation in the security sector in Nigeria by bringing Faruk Yahaya. To be honest, without mincing words, since he came the writing is on the wall. Nobody in the last two years will say that the security situation in Nigeria has not improved because I know before or the first few months he came, anytime I am traveling to Kaduna, I have to ask for escort. I had to be given two Hilux escort to stay with me till I come back.
“But now, they don’t even know if I’m in Abuja or Kaduna. I travel alone and I don’t even care, I know the road is safe. This is all part of the mechanism he put in place on the ground to ensure security of the highways,” he said.
Gen. Aliyu also maintained that the current COAS has put the welfare of troops and other personnel as his top priority from the beginning of his tenure.
The Army Chief, he said, has done everything to continue the good works of the former COAS, Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (Rtd).
He said “He made soldiers and officers paramount in his administration and because of that nobody complains that I cannot do. Because I give you my money, you must give me your product. Yahaya is doing just that.
“I have also been keenly monitoring what his wife is doing. Being my COAS, he is personally related to me, so I took particularly interest on what he is doing and noticing if there is anywhere he is falling short, for me to call his attention.
“So far, thank God, I have been very very satisfied with what he is doing about the welfare of troops.”
For peace to continue to reign in Nigeria, he also stressed on the need for change in behaviour by Nigerians and that everybody in the country must eschew any difference he has with any other person.
“You must believe in one Nigeria, you must believe you are a Nigerian. Salvaging Nigeria is everyone’s business. Until Nigerians realize that, Nigeria will be difficult to manage all the time. Everybody must aim to move Nigeria forward before Nigeria can move forward,” he added.
Citing the over 100 percent increase in pump price of petrol by oil marketers in response to President Tinubu’s declaration to remove fuel subsidy, he said Nigerians are the main problem of Nigeria and not the government.