•Buhari, service chiefs hold special meeting
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
Apparently miffed by the unhealthy rivalry among the various security agencies, which has hampered the war against insurgency, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Aboyomi Gabriel Olonisakin, yesterday urged the officers and men of the security forces to close ranks and work together to secure Nigeria.
He spoke in Jaji, Kaduna State, just as President Muhammadu Buhari met behind closed doors with service chiefs in Abuja.
Olonisakin, who was the guest of honour at the maiden Joint Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency (CTCOIN) seminar for students of Senior Course 42 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, said effective collaboration between security forces is imperative in securing the country against terrorism and insurgency.
He described the theme of the seminar “Enhancing Jointness in CTCOIN Operations through Collaboration,” as apt and timely considering the enormous roles currently being played by the armed forces and other security agencies in confronting the various security challenges facing the country.
“There is no doubt that our security forces require synergy and effective collaboration to succeed in the discharge of the onerous task of securing the nation.
“The required synergy transcends beyond the three services of the armed forces to the paramilitary and even NGOs and other stakeholders in our various theatre of operation. This synergy is essential and vital to achieving our common objective of securing Nigeria.
“It will also help in formulating policies and assist the armed forces in its operations,” he said.
The CDS told the students who are of the rank of Major and its equivalent in other armed forces that as future field commanders, it is essential for them to recognise the need for effective synergy among all stakeholders.
“Therefore, you must all display maturity and jettison all the hindrances to synergy and cooperation, such as ego and rivalry.
“I understand that before now, the seminar was organised at the academic departmental level. In the wisdom of the leadership of the college and in tandem with the realities of contemporary security challenges in the country, the need to have a joint seminar was conceptualised.
“It is believed that with this coming together, shared experiences and cross-fertilisation of ideas would be enhanced. Let me therefore commend the commandant and his management team for this initiative that is aimed at enhancing jointness among the armed forces and other security agencies as demanded by current realities. “What we have today is the product of long period of planning and deliberations.
“Most importantly, the theme of the seminar is also directly linked to the objective of the Senior Course as well as the thinking of the strategic leaders of the country.
“I also find the seminar most appropriate as majority of you students would be deployed to the field in command and staff appointments upon graduation from the college. In these appointments, you would be required to take critical decisions that would determine the fate of officers and men under your command.
“As tactical level commanders, you have vital roles to play in the execution of your higher commander’s plan. You will do this successfully by imbibing training, discipline and being flexible in your thoughts and reasoning.
“The college has therefore made concerted efforts at selecting some notable commanders across the three services who are vast on CTCOIN and joint operations. Indeed, it is expected that some of these commanders who have served or are still serving in their respective commands will share their vast experience and knowledge, especially during the interactive session.
“I, therefore, urge you to be open-minded and inquisitive with them so as to derive the maximum benefits in furtherance of the overall objective of the seminar,” CDS explained.
Meanwhile, the president yesterday met with the service chiefs to discuss security challenges facing the country.
Those in attendance were Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu.
At the meeting, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno (rtd.) and the Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari were conspicuously absent. THISDAY learnt that the NSA was absent because he was on a trip out of Abuja, but Kyari was in his office while the meeting held.
The meeting, coming 24 hours after the president had threatened that greater offensive deliberately meant to end insurgency would be launched “in the coming weeks,” did not fall within the regular security council meeting schedule in the State House.
Security council meetings usually presided over by the president are often held quarterly and always attended by the service chiefs.
Aside the service chiefs, the NSA, Monguno and the Chief of Staff, Kyari are usually in attendance. But at yesterday’s meeting both men were conspicuously absent.
While the last security council meeting was held in January, the next ought to hold next month, but it is believed that the deteriorating security situation in the country might have prompted the president to call yesterday’s meeting.
However, on their way out of the Presidential Villa yesterday, the service chiefs, including the IG, proceeded to the chief of staff’s office where they met with him briefly before leaving the State House.
The service chiefs have been in the eye of the storm for over one year following repeated calls for their sack from virtually all parts of the country as a result of worsening security crises threatening the country and moreso that the service chiefs are overdue for retirement.
But the calls have not been heeded as the president had ignored them and instead, sought for the support and cooperation of Nigerians with the armed forces in the battle against insecurity.
The calls for the sack of the service chiefs have been intensified in recent times especially with increasing aggression of Boko Haram in the North-east, resulting in dastardly and mindless killings and arson.
In recent times, several innocent lives of both the civilians and soldiers have been gruesomely lost while houses and churches had been burnt by the terrorists.
On Friday, houses and churches were burnt down and one soldier killed in Garkida in Adamawa State, barely few days after similar attacks had been carried out in a Christian community of Chibok where houses and human beings were burnt to death including a woman and an infant.
The Chibok attack also came few days after 30 passengers traveling to Maiduguri were gruesomely massacred and several vehicles burnt in Auno, near Maiduguri. The attack also came after the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa, Revd. Lawan Andimi, was beheaded by the insurgents in a horrible manner.
Following the arson in Garkida on Friday, Buhari according to a statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Grba Shehu, on Sunday, vowed to launch an aggressive campaign against Boko Haram.
“In the coming weeks, Nigerians would witness an aggressive campaign to rout Boko Haram once and for all,” the president promised.
It is believed that yesterday’s meeting was called in line with the latest threat issued by the president on Sunday.