By Augustine Ehikioya
In its efforts to secure Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, this Tuesday declared that the Nigerian Army is now better poised to handle contemporary and emerging security threats facing the nation.
The new strength of the Army, according to him, was majorly achieved as a result of increasing re-equipping of the Nigerian Army and improved personnel development.
He spoke in Abuja while declaring open the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) 2022 First Quarter Conference. Security Watch Africa (SWA) was there.
Stressing that the improved position of the Nigerian Army was acknowledged in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). He recalled that on his assumption of command, the Nation was faced with increased insurgency in the North East, banditry in the North West, agitation for secession and other disturbances in other parts of the country.
The Conference holding in Abuja, he said, will brainstorm further on how to improve the present position of the Nigerian Army.
He said “In retrospect, it is worthy to recall the state of security in Nigeria on assumption of command which was marked by heightened insurgency in the North East, banditry in the North West as well as agitation for secession and sundry disturbances in other parts of the Country.
“Consequently, my focus was directed towards improved personnel development in order to re-invigorate and rejuvenate the troops towards achieving the constitutional mandate of the NA.
“This has been largely achieved with the increasing re-equipping of the Nigerian Army which has made the Force better poised to tackle the myriad of contemporary and emerging security threats.
“In the bid to consolidate on the successes attained so far, deliberate efforts would be made throughout this Conference to appraise our ongoing activities. Our discussions would be focused on achieving the overall objective of better positioning the Nigerian Army to decisively confront the prevailing security challenges in the country.
“Such timely evaluation is critical in galvanizing our collective strength and eliminating our weaknesses,” he added.
According to him, increased deployments of Nigerian Army troops in various Theatres of Operations across the Country and creation of new units and Forward Operating Bases “have provided the much-needed impetus in our operations with several successes recorded.”
He went on “Our modest successes against the terrorists in the Northeast are being recognized and applauded in the global index. Our untiring efforts and gains against armed bandits and other violent criminals in the Northwest and North Central, Secessionists in the South East and other criminals in other geo-political zones are also gaining success.”
He also said the achievement recorded was made possible through increased synergy with sister Services, other security agencies and stakeholders.
“It is also heartwarming to note that in line with my vision to promote jointness in operations, the Nigerian Army has continued to contribute successfully in several joint operations across the country. We will continue to work assiduously with the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force as well as other security agencies and relevant stakeholders towards ensuring enduring peace in our dear Nation,” he stated.
Training activities such as Ex RESTORE HOPE and Ex PROJECT STINGER in conjunction with foreign partners, he said, are yielding the desired results “and would be accordingly sustained.”
He also assured that more collaboration will be sought with foreign partners in various spheres, especially with the gradual waning of the impacts of COVID-19 on the global front.
On developmental projects, he said, “Within the last year, the Nigerian Army had embarked on a number of infrastructural development projects, undertook further force restructuring, as well as optimized logistical support amongst others.
“The procurement and deployment of several platforms, particularly Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Artillery pieces into the theatres of operations have immensely enhanced our performance.
“The professional employment of these hardwares coupled with astute leadership provided by field commanders have led to the successes recorded so far.”
The Army Chief also expressed gratitude to the President and Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, for making provisions, his strategic guidance, continuous support and confidence in the Nigerian Army.
“We equally appreciate all others at all levels who support and continue to contribute to our efforts at enhancing the operational effectiveness of the NA. We shall continue to forge ahead with even greater vigour, commitment and determination and would not let you down.
Speaking on welfare packages, he said “We have also evolved seamless administrative measures and improved tremendously on welfare packages, to boost the morale of our troops. Some of our new welfare packages aimed at improving the overall wellbeing of the troops would be unveiled in the course of this conference.
“The Nigerian Army has also intensified its civil military relation efforts and imbibed the best global practices in the conduct of various operations in line with the principles of the Laws of Armed Conflict as well as promotion and respect for fundamental human rights.
“This was most evident in the professional conduct of troops during Operation SAFE CONDUCT while in support of Civil Authorities during the conduct of the Anambra State elections in November, 2021. This would be the benchmark for any such engagements in the future,” he said.