By Evelyn Usman
The Chief of Defence Staff, CDS General Abayomi Olonisakin, yesterday in Lagos, affirmed that the only solution to end insurgency in the North East and other acts of criminality across the country was synergy among all the Services of the Armed Forces, as well as other security agencies and stakeholders in security.
He therefore, called for an urgent need for cooperation among the Forces and the Nigerian populace if the war against contemporary security threats must be won.
He made this assertion while declaring the 2019 Nigerian Army Day Celebration NADCEL and Combat Support Arms Training, COSAT week open, at the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Ordinance Corps, at Abalti barracks, in Ojuelegba area of Lagos.
Describing the theme of the Nigerian Army Day celebration ‘Professionally Responsive Soldiering: A Panacea for Successful Military Operations, as apt and contemporary, General Olonisakin, said that the military experiences in the North East and other prevailing security challenges in the country, underscored the need for capacity building through constant and effective training.
He said: “I wish to assure you that we are better positioned to totally end the insurgency in the North East and other criminal activities across the Nation. This can only be achieved through synergy and the cooperation of all the Services, security agencies, as well as other stakeholders. The right to live in a peaceful, safe and secure environment is an inalienable right of every citizen of this country. Thus, there is an urgent need for all Nigerian citizens, in the spirit of patriotism, to contribute to the efforts of combating the menace of insecurity in the society”.
He noted that the discourse at the occasion, came at a time when the Armed Forces of Nigeria was reorganising to better tackle current challenges and curb future threats, in line with its constitutional roles.
The present security challenges witnessed in the country, according to him, were characterised by non-state actors “who exhibit deep intolerance for peaceful coexistence with other members of the society based on narrow ideologies, radicalism and in some instances outright criminal intents. These individuals and groups have resorted to attacking innocent citizens, creating an atmosphere of fear and panic through acts of terror as well as insurgent activities against Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
“ It is therefore vital that the NA continues to lead efforts in crushing such elements so that the nation may be safe and secure. To consolidate on the successes against the insurgents, peace building efforts must continually concentrate on addressing the drivers of the challenges in the first place”.
Congratulating the Nigerian Army for what he described as its loyalty, courage and resilience in defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria, he also, paid tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the course of fighting to ensure the peace of Nigeria.
Earlier, the Chief of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who described this year’s event as unique, noted that it was the first time that the NADCEL and COSAT would be conducted jointly. He boasted that as the Nigerian Army celebrates its 156th year of existence since its establishment as the Glover’s Hausas in 1863, it had made giant strides in curbing various security threats, revealing that it had not only consolidated on the gains established in the fight against insurgency in the North East, but had progressed to the stabilization phase where all efforts were geared towards ensuring that displaced persons returned to their traditional homes.
He said: “ We will continue to do everything possible in our resolve to build a formidable Army supported by a well trained and equipped combat support arms. I sincerely commend the efforts of the combat support arms in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North East, where the artillery has effectively acquired, located and engaged ground targets while the air defence continues to prevent hostile aerial interference with our land operations. The engineers have equally assisted the army to live, move and fight especially in the areas of Counter Improvised Explosive Device, CIED and force protection.
“Additionally, the Signals Corps has provided communications and electronic warfare support for effective command and control during our operations while the NAIC has assisted in producing actionable intelligence for ongoing operations around the country.
The COAS, added that “ the security challenges we are facing today, however, manifesting in novel and ambiguous forms, thus requiring more agility, flexibility, ingenuity and an uncanny ability to think outside the box; hence, the theme of the COSAT Week, which is Enhancing the Efficiency of the Combat Support Arms in Tackling Contemporary Security Challenges. I, therefore, look forward to incisive lectures, engaging discussions and pragmatic solutions to the myriad security challenges we face today.
He noted that while the Nigerian Army had made good progress such as producing undisputable results in various theatres of operations, “I must say that there is still room for improvement. I see the combat support arms, being a conglomeration of intelligent, resourceful and technologically savvy officers and men, as key drivers in the attainment of my vision.
“The fast-changing nature of the modern battlefield and the availability of technological resources to adversarial forces, call for both critical and creative thinking to multiply force and do much with the little available. In this regard, we must continue to strive to be self-reliant in battlespace technological options and reduce importation of military hardware in the long term”.
Also in his welcome address, the Commander, Engineering Corps, Major General John Malu, said that this year’s COSAT was well loaded with lectures, discussions and various activities to optimize the event and ensure that the objective of the training week was achieved.