The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai has charged the various commands of the Nigerian Army especially “Operation Lafiya Dole “to sustain the numerous successes being recorded by the Army across board on daily basis.
The Army Chief stated this in a speech at the ongoing Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja.
Buratai while calling on troops to desist from hobnobbing with politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections said the Army is putting in place a robust procurement and operational plan to preserve and promote the successes of the Nigerian troops in all its engagements.
The COAS Quarterly Conferences serve as a pedestal for the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army, NA, to appraise and discuss its doctrinal, operational and administrative matters as well as other security issues that are crucial to the stability of our country.
His words: ‘’In this era of political and social transformation, the NA remains steadfast in carrying out its constitutional roles as well as providing aid to civil authority. My vision for the NA which is ‘To Have a Professionally Responsive Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles’ is geared towards ensuring a safer environment for development and socio-economic activities to thrive in the country. We must ensure that we conduct ourselves professionally and respond adequately to threats against our nation in accordance with our constitutional roles.
“The NA would continue to chart progressive paths towards tackling the security challenges confronting the nation. To this end, I have instructed that attention must be given to ongoing NA operations in various parts of the country to ensure that security threats are dealt with decisively. Training must also be given due attention so that we can outperform the achievements of the previous years. Furthermore, research and development must be sufficiently pursued and funded to promote and attain the desired transformation and innovation drive in the NA.
“The successes achieved by troops in the ongoing operations particularly ‘Op LAFIYA DOLE’, has placed the NA on a good stead and the momentum must be sustained and consolidated. However, in conjunction with other services and security agencies, the NA must also deal decisively with other security challenges such as farmers-herdsmen clashes, armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, militant activities among other violent crimes.
“Operations DEEP PUNCH II in the North East and Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA in the North Central have achieved tremendous successes leading to the arrest of key suspects as well as recovery of arms and ammunition in Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Niger and Taraba States. The conduct of Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA has been extended in Taraba State till 30 May 18 based on the prevailing security situation in the state. While paying tribute to the officers and men in the field, I urge you all not to relent on your efforts at ensuring a safer Nigeria.
“The need to review the conduct of NA operations across the country has become imperative in view of lapses recently observed among commanders. Some of the lapses observed can be partly attributed to indecisiveness when faced with obvious challenges. Hence, the attitude of commanders in the field must change especially towards decision making and taking appropriate action in line with the Rules of Engagements.
“In this regard, issues of murder, arson and other serious crimes perpetrated by ethnic and local militias, criminals and miscreants must be dealt with decisively. Commanders would be held responsible for any lapses arising from their actions or inactions. I have directed the CTOP (A) to set up a high powered team to review all our operations especially where lapses have been observed in order to bring to book all those involved in such cases.
“Very recently, concerns have been raised by individuals and groups alike about the actions carried out by some units and formations in the course of operations. This has led to very strong comments and criticisms against the Nigerian Army. Some of the strongest comments have come from key citizens in Taraba State.
“In this regard, I have set up a panel to investigate some of the allegations that have been made, particularly with regards to operations in Taraba State. The panel was tasked to ascertain the veracity of the statements made and the true situation of things in the State. Nonetheless, we must put in more effort to improve our relations with civilians and the citizenry at large through better narratives and media operations.
“Let me state emphatically here that the unity and integrity of Nigeria lies on the military and the NA in particular. Therefore, any act inimical to the unity and integrity of this country by personnel of the NA will be decisively dealt with. The NA must remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles. GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels are, therefore, warned that anyone that runs foul of his professional ethics will be appropriately dealt with.
“You are all enjoined to continue to remind officers and soldiers under command to remain non-partisan and be guided by the stipulated code of conduct and rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties particularly in the coming 2019 General Elections. Furthermore, NA personnel in any capacity who receives any form of inducement from politicians, public or private entities, knowingly or unknowingly will be severely punished. Both the giver and taker of such inducement will be investigated and appropriately sanctioned.
“I have directed for a Special Standing Court Martial to be set up in preparation for the coming 2019 elections. I must warn that any NA personnel found hobnobbing with politicians or being partisan will be investigated and sent to the Special Standing Court Martial. I must state clearly that any officer or soldier who wishes to be sympathetic to a political, religious or ethnic group should voluntarily retire from the NA.
“Furthermore, all are reminded on the ban on any form of worship outside the barracks except those permitted for wedding and other social functions. Therefore, officers and soldiers must restrain themselves from any act of political, religious or ethnic patronisation as these would attract severe consequences. The fate of the 38 officers who were retired is still fresh in our memories.
“I am quite aware of the logistics constraints affecting the sustainability of our operations across the country particularly ‘Op LAFIYA DOLE’. I want to assure you that a robust and comprehensive procurement plan is in place in the Year 2018 Budget. However, the effective implementation of the procurement plan is subject to budget releases. I, therefore, want to emphasize that personal clothing, protective gears, additional equipment/platforms, accommodation, welfare and other logistics provisions would be my top priority in the procurement plan this year.
“In line with the Federal Government’s drive to boost local content and patronage, the NA is collaborating with indigenous companies in the local production of vehicles, weapon and equipment spares as well as combat materiel. The companies include Innoson Vehicle Motors, Proforce Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Machine Tools amongst others. This is aimed at boosting local production and enhancing our growing military industrial complex.
“In the First Quarter of 2018, I directed the procurement and supply of weapons, UAVs, vehicles, tyres, protective gears and spares to the Theatre for enhanced operations. Commanders at all levels are, therefore, enjoined to ensure judicious use and periodic maintenance of the items under their command. I believe this can be achieved if commanders at all levels imbibe and practice purposeful leadership in the efficient and effective management of men and materiel.
“Leadership remains a cardinal point in the command and administration of the NA at tactical, operational and strategic levels. This underscores the need for us to give leadership training the pride of place in our exercises and training. In this regard, I am pleased with the outcome of Lieutenant – Captain
“Promotion Examinations held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State which recorded 93 percent pass. Similarly, the final list of officers nominated to attend NDC 27/NIPSS SEC 41 and equivalent foreign courses for 2018/2019 as well as the AWCN Course 2/2018 have been released. It is gratifying to note that the AWCN programmes would be conducted at the newly constructed permanent site of the College here in Abuja. Presently, the modification and harmonization of the course curriculum with other services war colleges is ongoing. This is with a view to having a harmonized course content, coordinated approach to war fighting and cohesive decision making process.”