By Kingsley Nwezeh
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, yesterday committed himself to rebuilding the army by procuring fighting equipment and rebuilding the fighting skills, capacity, confidence and morale of officers and soldiers.
Attahiru said the army would soon receive equipment and other combat enablers expected to boost its operations and contain the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IDPs) by insurgents, which has impeded troops’ capacity to combat insurgency.
He stated that his administration will prioritise training, leadership development and welfare of personnel in order to produce “innovative commanders of the 21st century.”
Attahiru, at the opening ceremony of the Combined Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and the Nigerian Army Operations retreat in Abuja, said the army under his watch would be decisive and resolute in dealing with security threats.
“I have directed that serious attention must be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country,” he said.
Attahiru said in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to end the insurgency war, he has developed a command philosophy titled: “A Nigerian Army that is repositioned to professionally defeat all adversaries in joint environment.”
He declared: “Commanders must, therefore, glean from my command philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of Nigerian Army formations and units are sustained and improved upon in line with the president’s directive and my intent to rebuild the Nigerian Army into a formidable force.
“To breathe life into this vision, I released my philosophy of command which has readiness, capacity, continuous leadership development and duty to country as cardinal pillars.”
He said readiness entailed mission-oriented training, functional manning and equipping while capacity would be built on the dependability of the Nigerian Army to accomplish any mission in line with norms enshrined in its core values and ethics.
He added that continuous leadership development on its own will ensure that the Nigerian Army continues to roll out innovative 21st century commanders, who will make sacrifices to the fatherland and remain loyal.
“As formation commanders and principal staff officers, your role is critical to the attainment of my vision.
“Therefore, I implore all of you to immediately key into the vision so that together, we can take the Nigerian Army to greater heights,” he said.
Attahiru said the retreat would provide the army high command “a platform to reassess the threat environment and review our operations with a view to identifying gaps that could be addressed in the planning and conduct of future operations.”
On equipment, Attahiru said the army would soon receive combat equipment in order to boost its operations, adding that he has approved the purchase of spare parts for some equipment in need of repairs.
“As I speak, we will soon be receiving combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations.
Concerted effort is also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations in Operation Lafiya Dole.
“Again, in order to increase our operational capabilities, I have approved the purchase of spare parts and directed that damaged and unserviceable equipment in the theater be back-loaded for immediate repairs,” he said.
He stated that his administration was determined to rebuild fighting skills and capacity in addition to boosting the morale of personnel.
The COAS said: “I want to assure you that I am determined in rebuilding the fighting skills, capacity, confidence and morale of our troops across the various theatres of operations.
“In order to achieve this, my top priorities for the second and third quarters of the year would be training. I will ensure that through functional training, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are equipped with the right competence and skills to effectively undertake missions in addition to developing special operations forces.”
This, he added, would be closely followed by procurement that ensures appropriate kitting and provision of protective gear, weapons, equipment and platforms.
He reiterated that troops’ welfare will also be given paramount attention.
“Let me, however, remind you all that while no effort will be spared in achieving these goals, it is command’s responsibility to ensure the sustenance and maintenance of all equipment while measures must be emplaced to ensure sound administration of troops and their families,” he said.
Attahiru commended officers and soldiers at the frontlines for the sacrifices they have made so far.
The army chief said he would unveil his 2021 Strategic Plan and give directives on his expectations from personnel.
He said the retreat would enable the army leadership to chart a new road map to confront security challenges facing the nation.
He thanked Buhari for the support given the military and pledged the army’s loyalty to the constitution and the president.