Integrating Military Retirees to Civil Life

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Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, which is saddled with the task of integrating military retirees into civil life, recently churned out 162 retirees after intensive training in entrepreneurship to ease their transition

For the 162 recent graduates of the the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (NAFRC), a centre established for military retirees to transition into civil life, the journey started about 35 years ago when they joined the military.

For 35 meritorious years, they went through series of military trainings to ensure they turn out to be professional soldiers in their various units and fields. Suffice to say that their entire process were wired for those 35 years in a military pattern, regimentation, dedication to duty and discipline.

Throughout those 35 years, they recited the soldiers creed, and were solely dedicated to the actualisation of the Armed Forces core responsibilities whatever the cost or odds. However, after those 35 years, it was time to reformat their thinking process back to the civilian life they were used to before their sojourn into military life.

To ensure such smooth and seamless transition back to civil life, NAFRC was borne. At the centre located at Oshodi, Lagos, the retirees undergo training and re-training to ease their transition. They are also equipped with relevant civilian skills that would ensure they are kept busy.

For the current graduates, numbering 162 retirees, they were trained in different skills. Drawn from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), the Nigerian Army (NA) and the Nigerian Navy (NN), these retirees were equipped with relevant trades and vocational skills.

While 81 were drawn from the Nigerian Army, 69 were from the Nigerian Navy and 12 from

the Nigerian Airforce. Meanwhile, seven out of the 162 retirees were women. Also, two additional officials from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) also underwent the post service training.

Charge to Trainees

Speaking at the Passing Out Ceremony (POC) of NAFRC Trainees Course 02/2020 stream 2, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, described the successful completion of the course as a testament to the trainees determination, commitment and discipline, which he said were attributes of what they acquired in the course of their active service to their fatherland.

General Olonisakin explained that the Trainees’ Pre-Retirement Course was to give the retiring

personnel the requisite rudiments for a successful reintegration into civil life ,after a meritorious service to the country.

Expressing optimism that they would enjoy their post-service life and apply the knowledge and skills they had acquired during their service years, Olonisakin who was the special guest of honour, reminded the trainees that “you will from now on take full charge as planners and executors of your personal daily activities.

“This may sound exciting and promising but beware; you need to properly manage your freedom in order to be successful. The society will expect a high moral standard and discipline from you. You will also be required to always prove your worth after passing through a highly disciplined system like the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

As our ambassadors, I believe you are all capable of excelling in your future endeavors and positively influence your environment for the economic, social and political benefits

of our dear country.

“It is equally necessary for me to inform our discharging colleagues that post-service life has

its peculiar challenges. Some of these challenges you may encounter would include but not limited

to management of resources especially, retirement benefits, influences from friends and family members, management of both mental and physical health as well as integrating with the civil

society.

“Therefore, I urge you to be proactive in your conduct in order to avoid or overcome these

challenges. It is also risky for you to embark on a new life style that is above your means, or

engage in non-lucrative ventures. Neither should you abstain from physical exercises.

“I am sure that your training here has exposed you to several vocational opportunities,

entrepreneurship procedures and general management skills to alleviate the above mentioned pit falls in order to have a stress-free and meaningful life in retirement.

“ In this light, I urge you to employ the various instructions and skills you have acquired while

undergoing Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre training for peaceful and productive

economic life as you reintegrate into the Nigerian civil society”.

Olonisakin also commended the Commandant of the centre, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, and his team on what he described as their relentless efforts at ensuring that Armed Forces personnel

were exposed to the latest trends in global entrepreneurship and management training.

Commitment to Service

Earlier in his opening remark, Commandant of the NAFRC, AVM Amao, disclosed that the centre

had so far trained 48,000 personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria since inception.

He informed that the centre also ran the mid- level officers course as well the senior officers

entrepreneurship management workshop and had successfully conducted various vocational courses to residents in both Mushin and Ikorodu local government areas of Lagos sate, as well as youths in different military barracks across Nigeria.

The Commandant said, “the centre Agric wing has conducted trainings and cultivated several

economic and vegetables farms in the Nigerian Army Cantonment , Ojo, Nigerian AirForce Base Ikeja and Navy town, Ojo. This same gesture has also been extended to several military formations in Abuja, Kaduna, Bauchi, Benue and Plateau States.

“The training will provide beneficiaries to be equipped with skills of self income sustenance,

earn meaningful income while keeping positively engaged. This enables them to contribute meaningfully to their various societies, thus reducing crimes, criminality as well s other vices from our society. These are deliberate steps towards building a greater Nigeria”.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his support, as well as the Service Chiefs, Amao, boasted that the centre under his watch, would be committed to exploring ways and means to enhance the process of teaching and learning at the centre and by extension, harness the available human and infrastructural capital to transform the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre into a world class centre

of excellence of international best practices in vocational training.

Meanwhile, the retiring personnel resumed at the centre on October 2, 2020, where they undertook a documentation and medical examination in line with the COVID-19 protocols. Thereafter, they were exposed to orientation from various departments and workshops , referred to as workshop selling, from where they would identify viable workshops of their choice to sign in.

Vocational Trainings

The workshops included auto mechanics, Fine Arts, Information Technology, Ceramics, Photography, plumbing, Music , refrigerator, air conditioning , baking, among others.

For the fashion wing, courses like shoe making, barbing, tailoring, laundry and weaving are taught, while the fine arts and printing training had courses like fine arts, ceramics making, photography and printing as its core base. While the soap and cosmetics department had courses like soap and cosmetics making and domestic products, the agricultural section had general agric/food/cash crop, poultry, piggery, fishery, rabbitary, ruminants and snailery.

Also, the wood work sections boasts of carpentry and joinery, furniture design and construction, as well as the machine wood work, while the building and civil works section has bricklaying and concreting, plumbing and pipe lifting, painting and spraying.

For the electrical and electronics section, courses like refrigeration and air conditioning, electrical installation and maintenance practice, as well as radio and television. The auto mechanics wing boasts of mechanical engineering, battery charging, vulcanising and car wash.

Other departments like fabrication and welding have the fabrication, welding, machining and fitting, as well as foundry, while the music department deals with instrument learning and entertainment, even as the food and beverages department deals with bakery and the information technology department takes care of computer appreciation, hardware maintenance, networking and internet, as well as systems development and design.

Given the important role the centre is saddled with it, it is therefore expected that consistency in providing quality training geared towards preparing the retirees to face the challenges of re-integrating into civil life, is sacrosanct.