Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika
By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Nigerian Army Monday reiterated its commitment to stamp out the menace of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram, even as it said its personnel are equipped to counter the growing insecurity in the country.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, who disclosed this at a seminar organised by the Nigerian Army College of Logistics (NACOL), Lagos, said: “Before now, Nigerians perceived terrorism as a malady afflicting far off nations and lands but unfortunately, some misguided elements have brought this evil home to us.”
Represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Major General Kenneth Minimah, Ihejirika said the theme ‘Evolving Counter Terrorism Strategies for Enhances National Security and Development’ is germane going by the security challenges in the country.
“Since the Boko Haram sect started this campaign of terror, hundreds of lives and property worth millions of naira have been destroyed. Schools, places of worship, private properties, paramilitary and military locations have also not been spared.
“The sect has orchestrated attacks which are deliberately targeted at causing disaffection amongst the diverse people of the country but we praise the resilience of Nigerians and their capacity to discern the divisive undertones of these attacks and have deliberately refused to take retaliatory steps,” he said.
Ihejirika said the Army had taken steps to checkmate the activities of terrorist groups and other criminal elements in the state by improving inter-agency co-operation in terms of intelligence gathering and sharing.
He said several units are currently undergoing counter insurgency and counter terrorism training nationwide, adding that the force structure will be further expanded to effectively counter growing insecurity in the country.
On his part, the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, pledged his support in achieving maximum security for the citizenry.
Fashola who was represented by the Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Matters, Hon Muslim Folani, said: “The country is going haywire and we all need to join hands together to nip it in the bud before it consumes us. To achieve this, we need state policing to police our borders which are notably porous. Although it may be difficult at the onset, we will succeed if we put our minds to it.”
In his address, the Commandant NACOL, Major General Thomson Oliomogbe, said: “On our part, we promise to continue to strive to achieve excellence in line with COAS objective of transforming the NA into a force better able to tackle contemporary challenges.”