By Augustine Ehikioya
With the conclusion of Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2022 in Owerri, Imo State, Nigerian Army Officers and Soldiers are more resolved to crush any person or group taking arms against the Nigerian nation.
Their morale is said to be on the rise in the last one year due to their welfare and logistics now being adequately provided for by the Army leadership.
Not only did they use the celebration in Imo State to review activities of the past, but also they planned ahead to tackle the various security challenges facing the nation.
Knowing how dangerous proliferation of light and small arms have been in the wrong hands of terrorists, kidnappers and bandits in Nigeria, it was also decided that no stone will be left unturned to mop up and cut off their supply of the light and small arms, which is seen as the criminals’ oxygen for existence.
During the celebration, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, interacted with Media Executives, highlighting some key achievements in the past one year and what to expect from the leadership, going forward.
At the Media parley moderated by the President and CEO of Security Watch Africa (SWA), Mr. Patrick Agbambu, it was declared that there have been great improvement in tackling security challenges in the past one year.
Fielding questions from the media executives, the Army Chief said “The menace of insecurity when I was appointed Chief of Army Staff, over a year ago, all of us are aware of the situation. The result of what I and my colleagues have done in one year speaks for itself.
“Virtually, all the areas that were under terrorists, we have gotten them back. Many communities have gone back to their places in the last one year.
“We also saw the issue of mass surrendering of terrorists. It has been an everyday event. Kinetic and non-kinetic approaches have helped to return relative peace to the communities in the North East.
“The troops are improved and we are taking the war to the criminals. Before now, the criminals take over the nights, but we have collected back the nights,” he added.
While the support of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Army in the past one year is said to have played a great role under the current Army leadership, the Army is also adjudged to be doing well in tackling the security challenges in other parts of the country beyond the North East.
Besides arresting more kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements, the Army has increased its searchlight on the trail of criminals on the run.
To change the trend of massive insecurity in the country prior to assumption of office by the current Army leadership, new measures were said to have been effectively implemented in the last one year.
Apart from appreciating and building on the works and structures of the Army leaderships before the current one, the last one year is said to have seen massive improvement in the welfare and morale of troops.
This, is said to be one of the topmost priority of the current leadership.
Another measure the leadership has taken is to improve logistics and platforms needed by the troops to effectively carry out their assignments.
In the words of the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya, “The rain has set in, but rain or no rain, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are not stopping.
“This has been achieved because the morale of the troops have been improved. The platforms they require have been provided, the logistics have been provided.
“You can’t try the Nigerian Army and escape. Sometimes, it takes time, but we will get you wherever you go,” he warned.
Despite all the measures being implemented, there have been some allegation of poor welfare issues in the Army and reported moves by officers to protest and embark on strike action.
While the Army leadership had swiftly countered such allegations whenever they come up, the Army, under the current dispensation, however has never experienced the strike action by officers as reported in the media.
To further tackle the issue of proliferation of small and light arms in wrong hands, which have been fuelling insecurity across the country, the Army leadership is happy that adequate measures are being put in place to stop it.
The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons is said to have been vigorously reinvigorated to mop up the small and light arms in wrong hands in the country, with operations established across all the geopolitical zones in the country.
For the incoming small and light arms, while President Buhari and the Federal Government is handling the issue at the top level with neighboring countries, the Nigerian Customs Service has put in place steps to stop the influx.
Effort is also said to be on top gears to bring the financiers of the criminals to book.
To succeed against insecurity, the Army leadership has insisted that it is the business of everybody to take care of security.
Harbouring criminals and knowing their whereabout, for instance, without passing relevant information to security agencies is said to be the greatest challenge of ending insecurity.
At the media parley, the Army Chief said “Those taking arms against the State are taking arms against all of us. The media is very critical and we urge you to use your position, whatever you can do, to better the situation.
“Everyone have a role to play. You know what you can do in your own ways to enhance and improve security in the overall interest of all of us and Nigeria, where we belong,” he said.
While security is said to be everybody’s business, it is hoped that every good-loving Nigerian will continue to act accordingly by providing the intelligence needed to defeat the evil merchants in the country.
Their prayers and cooperation to the Army and all the other security agencies will definitely be an important boost for them to get things right soonest.
All these are inevitable to stop disintegration and if they want to see the good old days back, when terrorism, kidnapping and banditry were not an issue in Nigeria.
All hands, it is hoped, will start to be on deck towards ending these security challenges before the exit of the current administration.