By Kingsley Omonobi
The Chief of the Army Staff, Lt General Azubuike Ihejirika, at the weekend, disclosed that the Army is to set up a Special Task Force to confront emergency security challenges in the country, particularly ‘terrorism’.
Ihejirika made the disclosure while speaking at the graduation ceremony of the ‘Basic Counter Terrorism Course’ at the Nigerian Army Training Center, Kontagora where a total of 2094 young soldiers -1869 males and 225 females- graduated.
According to the Army Chief, the Special Force, once established at the Army Headquarters, would not be involved in peace keeping operation or internal security operations but specialize in training and confronting any case of emergency whether within or outside the country.
His words, “The Special Force is important to both the Army Headquarters and the nation in the sense that, if there is a situation whereby there is an emergency, we have a force you call upon and deploy immediately whether it is internal or external.”
He explained that about 600 counter-terror soldiers would form the base while some senior officers would be posted to form the force properly, adding, “They are not likely to be committed to the peace keeping operations and internal security but to be trained for attending to emergency cases.”
Recalling that the establishment of the Army Training Center was based on his vision “to transform the Nigerian Army into a force capable of meeting contemporary security challenges”, Ihejirika listed the emergency special security challenges the force will be deployed for as terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping and criminal activities perpetrated in the form of armed robbery, illegal refining of petroleum products and pipeline vandalism.
To the graduands, Ihejirika said, “With the completion of your training, you will be deployed into the field. As you go into the field, you must put into practice all that you have learn’t during the training so as to reflect the hard work which your instructors have put into the training. Tackling current security challenges indeed requires competent soldiers in all aspects of internal security duties.
“It is imperative therefore that you utilize all the combat proficiency skills you have acquired during these few weeks of intensive training to exhibit high sense of professionalism in the conduct of your assigned tasks. In doing so, you must adhere strictly to the rules of engagement”.