BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA — The new service chiefs, yesterday, pledged that the security challenges in the three northern states occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram Islamic sect would be resolved before April 2014.
This was made known by the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, moments after taking over from their predecessors who were removed from office by President Goodluck Jonathan, Friday.
The Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Major General Kenneth Minimah; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu, also, took over command of their various services yesterday.
Speaking after taking over from Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, Badeh said: “I am aware of the security challenges the nation is facing and I shall do my best to guide the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards achieving the desired successes.
“The security situation in the North-East must be brought to a complete stop before April 2014. So please if there are any of them around, send words to your colleagues that they are in trouble; we are coming after them.
“I was telling my colleagues that we must bring it to a stop by April 2014 so that we do not have constitutional problems in our hands. We do not want to go back to the Senate and start begging and lobbying. If we do our work cohesively I can say that General Minimah will finish that thing in no time.
“Unity of command is the preferred method of achieving success in tackling security challenges. When a country goes to war, its army does not go to war, or its navy or the air force, the nation itself goes to war using all its capabilities in the combination that best suits the peculiar threats and the war plan designed to defeat the enemy.
“Service rivalries have no place in the battle field, where success and not credit is the professional currency. Let us put all our hands on deck to face these challenges, squarely so that the government can concentrate on national development.”
In his remarks, the COAS, Gen. Minimah said he considered himself fortunate to take over the mantle of leadership of the Nigerian Army from a distinguished senior officer like Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika.
“I am sure the consensus opinion in this room is that the outgoing COAS has remarkably pursued his vision of transforming the army into a force better able to meet contemporary challenges. I must therefore salute and acknowledge his contributions to the growth of the army, the armed forces and the nation.”
On his part, the new CNS, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin, noted that his appointment was a challenge and pledged to do his best in moving the Nigerian Navy to the next level, pointing out that God used Jonathan to elevate him to the exalted seat.
He promised to sustain the Navy’s fight against insecurity in the maritime sector, particularly those bordering on crude oil theft.
The CAS, Amosu, on his own vowed that the Air Force under his leadership would leave no stone unturned in discharging its constitutional responsibilities.