…NDA attack, a disgrace to Nigerian Army, says Oyinlola
…It’s a charade, shame — Bode George, Kunle Olawunmi, Samuel Agbede
…I fear Afghanistan, Rwandan situation in Nigeria – Brig-Gen Ikponmwen
…No military unit is safe any longer — AVM Ararile
…Attack should be a turning point in fight against banditary —Brig Gen Usman
…Attack on NDA won’t deter military from ending criminality, Buhari vows
…Gen Irabor orders constitution of Board of Inquiry.
…As DHQ debunks report that personnel on duty at CCTV room slept on duty
…Says military still conducting search, rescue for abducted officer
…Reps caucus demand forensic investigation
By Kingsley Omonobi, Dapo Akinrefon, Evelyn Usman, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Tordue Salem, Shina Abubakar & Ozioruva Aliu
Retired military officers yesterday railed against Tuesday’s attack on Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, Kaduna, by bandits who killed two officers, kidnapped one and injured another.
The retired officers who expressed consternation about the disgrace the attack subjected the military include former governor of Osun State, Brig General Olagunsoye Oyinlola, retd, former military governor of Ondo State, Commodore Olabode George, retd, and Commodore Tunde Olawunmi.
Others are Col Samuel Agbede, retd, Air Vice Marshal Lucky Ararile, retd, and Brigadier -General Sani Usman.
Their reactions came on a day President Muhammadu Buhari said the attack on the NDA would spur the armed forces to make a decisive end to criminality in the country, rather than dampe their morale as intended by the bandits.
This is even as the authorities of the Nigerian Defence Academy, acting on the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, yesterday constituted a Board of Inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate causes or causes of the breach of security at the premiere military institution.
NDA attack, a disgrace to Nigerian Army, says Oyinlola
Reacting to the attack, Oyinlola described the killing of two soldiers and kidnapping of an Army Major as an insult on the nation’s military.
Oyinlola, who was also former military administrator of Lagos State, said in an interview on Rave FM radio talk show monitored by Vanguard, that for such attack to have happened successfully inside NDA called for serious concern, especially with regards to the security situation in the country.
“That such attack happened at NDA is a total disgrace. Whatever may have happened point to the fact that somebody has refused to do his job.
“It is a total slap on the face of the military. I have not got the details of how it happened yet, but, if that kind of a thing could happen in such a place, then God helps all of us. I am sad that such happened, having served the military for 30 years.’
It’s a charade, shame — Bode George
Also reacting yesterday, former Military Administrator of Ondo State, Commodore Olabode George, retd, expressed shock and described the invasion of the NDA as a charade and shame.
He said: “That is like singeing (burning) the beards of the king. I am shocked because the NDA is the kernel of the military institution.
‘’If they (bandits) can attack the NDA, which other institution is safe? The NDA is the firmament of military institutions, if the security around the NDA is not watertight, then, which other institution is watertight? They must investigate it to the bone.
‘’This is a charade and a disgrace. It has never happened in the history of this country. It is like saying they invaded the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Is the NDA so porous?’’
In his reaction, a former Naval officer, Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, retd, in an explosive interview said: “It is an aberration; you don’t attack the Nigerian Defence Academy and get away with it.’’
He lamented that the NDA, like other military environments in the country, carelessly opens its doors to everyone on Fridays for Jumat prayer, adding that terrorists and criminals profile military environments during Muslim prayers on Fridays.
Commodore Olawunmi, who spoke in an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, added: “In 2017, I carried out an investigation ordered by the minister of defence who wanted me to check what was going on with the training and the security there (NDA).
“I remember I spent about a week in the NDA with the commandant and the staff but something struck me, every Friday, the gate of NDA is thrown open and everybody has access to pray in the mosque.
“On Fridays, you are going to see same thing happening across all military formations in the country… If you go to Defence Headquarters, I served at the Defence Headquarters as the Deputy Director, Defence Administration between 2015 and 2017.
‘’Throughout my two years at Defence Headquarters, I received visitors twice because of the strict security architecture there but every Friday, the gate of Defence Headquarters is thrown wide open for everybody to come in and observe Jumat.
“That is the time the terrorists have to profile our security environment. It has always been the case. I have served the military intelligence for the past 35 years. Our problem is religious and socio-cultural.”
A retired Major General who spoke on the condition of anonymity, expressed anger at the invasion of the NDA , describing it as the height of affront.
He blamed military authorities for allowing such an act to occur in its institution, revealing that it was a calculated attempt to test the might of the military.
He said: “It is unfortunate that an incident of such is happening for the first time in the history of this country. It is even worse that military authorities seem not to be taking any drastic action on it. They know what is happening but they are probably afraid of their lives and those of their family members.
‘’It is sad that it has taken this dimension and if this is not tackled , it will be too late to address the ugly trend because this is a calculated attempt to test the Army’s might. If it is treated with kid gloves, another strike may likely occur”
A Rear Admiral who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “ The invasion is a slap on the Nigerian Army and the Armed Forces. If given a free hand to work, the military will do the needful. Unfortunately, things are not the way they seem. There is more to this than meet the eyes.”
Reacting in a similar vein, Col. Samuel Agbede, retd, said such an attack had never happened in the history of the Nigerian military.
Agbede, a former President of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, said: “This attack just signifies that the chicken is coming home to roost. All our calls and cries for proactive actions against insecurity have been confirmed by this worrisome invasion.
“It is very worrisome that bandits could have the audacity to attack a military academy and kill officers. This has never happened in the history of the military that bandits could have the effrontery to attack a military academy.
“This is too disgraceful and it is just confirming what we have been saying about fifth columnist. We have seen why we should not allow those Boko Haram insurgents into the military. It is like putting fire on our thatched roof.
“It is time to look up and gather elders together to do something about this issue. It is dangerous to leave governance of 200 million people in the hands of one man. To say that we have a Major General as our Commander-in-Chief and this is happening is very worrisome.
“Just like we have been crying, these bandits are everywhere. We should stop dancing around for politics. It is disgusting. We really have problems and we should not wait until they overrun Aso Rock. We still appeal to the federal government to gather people together to address the insecurity in the country.”
No military unit is safe any longer— AVM Ararile
In his reaction, His Royal Majesty, Retired Air Vice Marshall Lucky Ararile, the Ovie of Umiagwa Kingdom in Delta State, said: “The brazen attack by bandits on NDA, killing of soldiers and abduction of a military personnel shows that no where is safe in Nigeria anymore. It shows that bandits are in total control.
“We are not sure that even Aso Rock or any military unit is safe any longer. Government has to tackle these bandits or whatever they call themselves with the seriousness it deserves. These embarrassments are becoming too much.
Attack shuld be a urning point in fight against banditary—Brig Gen Usman
Similarly, Brigadier General Sani Usman, retd, former Director, Army Public Relations, said: “It is very disturbing. I believe this should be a turning point in the fight against banditry and these criminal elements. But I think the bandits’ have made a terrible mistake. They have crossed the line; they will regret it.
“I am so happy that all hands are on deck over this issue. Though I am not in possession of the full details, but I think the military will respond appropriately. I heard that the CDS and service chiefs have visited the academy.
“It is a worrisome issue, it is really disturbing but I am so sure about the capacity and capability of the military to deal with the situation.’’
Attack on NDA won’t deter military from ending criminality, Buhari vows
In his first reaction to the attack yesterday, PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari said would strengthen the resolve of the military to deal with the security situation in the country, rather than dampen their morale.
He noted that the attack, which led to loss of lives, came at a time the military had put insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other types of criminals on the retreat.
The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, said “the heinous action would accelerate the total uprooting of evil in the polity, which members of the Armed Forces are solidly resolved to accomplish in the shortest possible time.”
While commiserating with the families who lost their loved ones, and praying God to comfort them, Buhari vowed that the deceased would not die in vain, saying their killing would have consequences that would ‘’eventually clean the country of vermin, and emancipate the polity from deliberate, targeted and contrived atrocious acts.”
The President thanked.”all Nigerians who value and appreciate the efforts of our military, and urges those playing hateful politics with the dastardly act to desist.”
He added that rather than recriminations, “this is the time for all patriots and people of goodwill to support and encourage those who are in the vanguard of the battle against wickedness in the land.”
Gen Irabor orders constitution of Board of Inquiry
Also yesterday, authorities of the Nigerian Defence Academy, acting on the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, have constituted a Board of Inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the breach of security at NDA.
Director of Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyer, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said the inquiry was with a view to sanctioning any personnel found culpable and also prevent a recurrence.
The DDI also assured that Defence headquarters shall continue to update the general public as events unfold, noting that a search and rescue operation for the abducted officer was still on, even as troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria would continue with their operations to ensure all those involved in the dastardly act were brought to justice.
DHQ debunks report that personnel on duty at CCTV room slept on duty
Sawyer debunked reports that personnel on duty at the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, CCTV monitoring room were sleeping when the bandits attacked the officers’ residential quarters, which led to the death of two officers and abduction of another.
He said: “The Nigerian Armed Forces wishes to state categorically that the allegation is untrue. It is, therefore, imperative to caution against being used as a propaganda tool by enemies of our dear country.
“The media should not consciously or unconsciously collaborate with these unscrupulous elements to spread unverified stories on the unfortunate event that occurred at NDA, Kaduna, while tarnishing the good image and reputation of personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, in the eyes of the civil populace.
“It is perhaps important to mention that the AFN as a professional force, consists of highly trained personnel who are dedicated to their duties of protecting lives and property of all Nigerians.
“Let me use this opportunity, to reiterate that the NDA authorities, acting on the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff has constituted a board of enquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate cause(s) of the breach of security with a view to sanction any personnel found culpable and also prevent future occurrence.
“Let me also assure that we shall continue to update the general public as events unfold as we are all aware the search and rescue of the abducted officer is still on. Troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria will continue with its operations to ensure all those involved in the dastardly act are brought to justice.”
Reps caucus demand forensic investigation
Meanwhile, the Minority caucus of the House of Representatives yesterday called for a forensic investigation into the recent attack on the Nigeria Defence Academy, NDA, in Kaduna State and the fresh attacks in Plateau State.
Alarmed by escalated acts of terrorism and bandit attacks across the country, particularly Tuesday’s invasion of the Nigeria Defence Academy, NDA, which resulted in the killing and abduction of military officers.
The caucus in a statement signed by the leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta), said: “It is lamentable that hardly a day passes without the nation being jolted by reports of gruesome mass killings, abductions, arson and mindless plundering by terrorists and bandits who are now freely operating on our highways, schools and communities in various parts of the country.
“The situation has become extremely horrifying in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, Benue, Borno, Niger and other states across our nation where killers and kidnappers are now having a field day, raiding communities and killing our compatriots.
“Yesterday night, 35 Nigerians were reportedly massacred in Yelwan Zangam in Jos, Plateau State, barely a week after innocent travelers were ambushed and brutally murdered in the state.
“Our caucus is distressed that every day, families are deprived of their breadwinners, scores of children are orphaned, wives are turned to widows, husbands turned to widowers, parents are made to bury their children hacked down in their prime, with others languishing in their captors’ dens and family source of livelihood destroyed.
“The minority caucus, after extensive considerations demands an immediate and decisive action by APC-led Federal Government to check the ugly trend and save our nation from collapse.
“Nigerians do not deserve to go through this form of harrowing experience. The APC-led government must take drastic steps to save Nigerians from this insecurity.
“Our caucus also demands an immediate forensic investigation into the circumstances that enabled the invasion of the NDA and subsequent killing and abduction of officers”.
The caucus, also called for “the investigation into the concerns raised by some groups, including the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, on the handling of insurgents by the authorities.”
It, however, urged the gallant troops not to be deterred but to remain firm in their commitment to the country, while assuring on its determination to intensify legislative action that will support genuine effort towards restoring peace in the country.
I fear Afghanistan, Rwandan situation in Nigeria – Brig-Gen Ikponmwen
Also reacting, former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Idada Ikponmwen, retd, called for caution on the part of Nigerian leaders.
Though he said the attack on NDA was not the first on military facilities in the country, Ikponmwen expressed fears of a worse situation in future, if nothing was done to stem the insecurity in the country.
“It is not new, they have attacked Command and Staff College before, they have attacked 1 Division before, it is the same old trend.
‘’We just pray that God will come to our rescue and our leaders will see the need to redouble their efforts in the security of lives and properties in this country. I just pray they don’t turn Nigeria to another Rwanda or Afghanistan.”
NDA attack might be politically designed to embarrass Buhari — Garba Shehu
Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu says the recent attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, might be a ploy to embarrass the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Reacting to the development, Shehu, in an interview on Channels Television, said the presidency expects the military to thoroughly investigate and disclose what happened.
The presidential spokes-person, who described the incident as “sad and unfortunate”, noted that many scenarios are being painted on the circumstances that led to the incident.
He said: “The president has denounced it. He is not happy about it. It is now left for the military authorities to thoroughly investigate this and bring out what happened.
“So many scenarios are being painted though. Could this be truly a criminal attempt to violate the sanctity of that military institution? Was this an opportunistic crime? Is it political? Does somebody want to embarrass the government by doing this?
“We are coming from major successes. Look at how Boko Haram is unravelling in the north; they surrendered. All of the victories that have been recorded even in the north-west — these bandits are being taken out in large numbers.
“So, in a climate — political climate — in which people seek to make political capital out of this unfortunate incident, you don’t rule in anything, you don’t rule out anything. We hope investiga-tions will fully reveal what happened and why it happened.”