Nigeria, US Armies Co-host African Land Forces Summit in Abuja

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Paul Obi in Abuja

Following the increasing spate of terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the Sahel and Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Army and the United States Army are to co-host African Land Forces Summit in Abuja.

The summit is coming on the heels of recent concern over US government partnership with the Republic of Ghana on a military base in the West African country.

The summit, with the theme ‘Unity is Strength: Combatting Africa’s Security Challenges’ slated for next week according to officials is geared towards providing African military leaders the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships, develop capacity and new ways of tackling security challenges on the continent and further facilitate advanced military cooperation.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, stated this in Abuja as a prelude to the conference.

Buratai represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Ahmadu, explained that the summit begins on Monday 16 and ends on Thursday 19 April, 2018 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

He added that the conference was part of the constant training activities and updating of personnel of the army in line with their constitutional roles to aid civil authority in combating terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, cultism, civil unrest, ethno religious crisis as well as other security challenges.

According to him, the summit would provide the Nigerian Army, the opportunity to showcase its capabilities, project its image and military might to the largest gathering of African senior military leaders on the continent.

“The event is sponsored by the USARAF while the Nigerian Army chiefs and chiefs of other nations from Europe and the Americas including the USA will be in attendance.

“Participants will be drawn from all African armies, western partners as well as representatives from the three services, the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Service (DSS).”

Ahmadu explained that “the forum would afford countries the avenue to share experiences on global terrorism and forge common approach to combating transnational threats and crimes such as small arms proliferation and terrorism.

“The summit is the single largest gathering of African senior military leaders on the continent. It would also afford them the opportunity to interact with the aim of strengthening existing relationships and developing new ones.

“The Summit is a land mark event which the Nigerian Army will be co-hosting with US Army Africa (USARAF). It will provide the NA the forum to showcase its capabilities, project its image and military might to the largest gathering of African senior military leaders on the continent.

“This is in addition to providing a platform for countries to share experiences on global terrorism and other security challenges such as transnational threats and crimes.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy yesterday said efforts are in top gear to expand its operations by building more barracks for effective security of the maritime territory.

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ete Ibas stated this in Abuja while inaugurating a housing project in Kubwa area of Abuja constructed by the Nigerian Navy.

Ibas argued that if the developmental agenda of the Nigerian Navy is to be attained, efforts must be made to provide adequate welfare for Navy personnel.

He said the Nigerian Navy is only able to cater for 6,000 of its personnel which represent less than 30 per cent of its force, adding that the challenges of accomodation would continue to worsen if nothing is done about it.