Governor Abiola Ajimobi
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has called on the Federal Government to begin an underground move to block the channels through which equipment and instruments of destruction were being brought into the country.
He also stressed the need for government to ensure that national interests and values were clearly defined so as to engender the spirit of patriotism and checkmate internal uprisings.
Ajimobi, who was speaking at the opening of the training workshop organised by the 2 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army in Ibadan yesterday, described the national security challenge currently being faced by the country as a passing phase.
“It is in the definition of what constitute our core values as a people that we can find lasting solutions to the separatist inclinations of some of our people who take arms against the country.
“It is in the lack of identification of our core values that can be found the absence of patriotism among her nationals, to the extent of rising against Nigeria’s national interest,” he submitted.
He also said Nigerians must be made to undergo courses in security consciousness, adding ``the time of innocence for us as a people has gone and security consciousness must take over our innocence.
“In other words, we must by now begin to develop a security community which has its eyes on securing itself and members of its community.
“If we were taking some things for granted in the past, this is the time to interrogate every unusual configuration around us and sharpen our suspicion of every event that surrounds us. That is the challenge to us as individuals living in contemporary Nigeria,” the governor said.
While saying that the involvement of the military in ensuring security in Nigeria could not be over-emphasised, the governor, however, added that developing the requisite capabilities by the Nigerian Army for combating contemporary security challenges should not basically be about acquiring sophisticated weaponry.
He said it was about attuning the minds of the people to the prevailing circumstances of the country where suicide bombers had polluted the peace of the hallowed nation.
“It is a problem that can be solved by a triad of the people, the military and government as a whole. Government must begin to inculcate the core values of nationalism and patriotism in the minds of the people, as well as make the Nigerian society equitable.
“Through the provision of basic needs, provision of job opportunities for the teeming jobless people and allied existential comforts for her people, government would be re-instilling confidence into the people and thus re-nurturing their senses of patriotism,” he said.
According to him, it was in these that people can begin to retrace their steps back into the core values of nationhood.
He praised the Nigerian Army for playing leading role in the ongoing efforts at addressing security challenges nationwide, saying that this was commendable.
“I must also commend your men for the courage displayed so far in combating these challenges. Some of them have had to make the supreme sacrifice for the rest of us to enjoy the relative peace we have today. We must not forget them in our prayers,” the governor said.
He said it was in an attempt to sustain the existing peace in the state that led to the establishment of joint security patrol codenamed “Operation Burst”, pledging that he would do all within his power to ensure the sustainability of the security outfit.
The former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), who was the guest lecturer at the occasion, called for caution in the handling of the Bakassi issue, whose ceding to Cameroun had of late been generating bad blood, particularly from the former residents of the oil-rich peninsular.
In his address, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, said the theme of the training “Developing Requisite Capabilities by the Nigerian Army for Combating Contemporary Security Challenges’’ was apt in view of the security challenges currently facing the country.
Represented by the GOC, 2 Mechanised Division, Major-General Mohammed Abubakar, Ihejirika said the army was saddled with the leading role of responding to the myriad of security challenges facing the country.