Kaduna: Following several bomb blasts that killed scores of people and marred the Easter celebrations in some parts of the northern Nigeria, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday, told soldiers to consider themselves at war with the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
Ihejirika who spoke in Kaduna while declaring open, a one week First Commanding Officer’s Workshop on “Enhancing Military Professionalism in the Nigerian Army to Meet Contemporary Challenges,” said that the Nigerian Army will soon establish a special unit in the military on the use of dogs to fight terrorism and related crimes.
His words: “You and your men are to be in a war mood to be able to deal with the current challenges. Otherwise, how do you explain that troops on check point duty would be attacked by these decadents? And they sometimes do that and get away with it. This is an area you must work on.
“Commanding officers must imbibe innovative ideas in tackling these security nuisance embarrassing the military. As you are out in the field, at every point in time, make sure you are either conducting an operation or you are gathering intelligence. You must be doing any of the two at any point in time. If your area is too quiet, you have a reason to get worried.
“We believe that, how the troops perform is a direct reflection of the qualities of their Commanding Officers. That is why you are assembled here for the next four days to brainstorm on matters of service interest in order to improve and sharpen your professional skills.
”We chose First Division to underscore the importance of the current operation of Second and Third Divisions’ troops. I am happy to note the numerous achievements of your Divisions since the first bomb attack on this headquarters and the attacks on Kano. But you will all agree with me that a lot still needs to be done to make our society secure.
”Let me stress that the challenges confronting the nation and indeed the Army are well known to all of us. The constitutional provision and the directive of Mr. President to work with other civil authorities to secure every part of this country are also well known.
“The theme of this workshop was carefully chosen to remind the officers of the importance of military professionalism in dealing with challenges facing the nation and the world at large, especially terrorism, small arms proliferation and related crimes.
“The Nigerian Army will continue to do all within its power to provide all the necessary resources alongside welfare of its officers and men to achieve the desired results.
”I want to state here that the Army is likely to have a better deal within this budget year than we had in the past. So, I can see a lot more barracks being repaired and a lot more equipment being put back into service.
”On the 19th of this month, we will be commissioning about 14 boats that have been recovered and refurbished for the use of our troops in the Niger-Delta area.
“The second batch of trainees on the use of dogs in the fight against terrorism has just completed their training and will soon be launched to join the existing troops to further complement their efforts at winning the war against terrorism. ”Let me therefore commend your efforts so far, as the North-West and North-East zones of the country are beginning to see some respite from terrorist activities. But, nearly is not good enough as we must ensure that the citizens are more secured and safe leaving peacefully in locations of their choice.”
“So, there is a lot of room for us to train harder and harder to improve on our performance”.
Earlier, the General Officer Commanding, GOC, First Division, Major General Wahab Garba said the participants who are Commanding Officers from various formations of the First and Third Divisions were selected for the workshop in view of the security challenges in their areas.