The Nigerian Army has challenged its Special Forces to prove that they have better training and tactics than terrorists by making the difference and positive impact in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations.
The Chief of Army of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, gave the charge in Maiduguri yesterday, while addressing the Armed Forces Special Forces and Army Strike Group deployed in the North-East.
“You are selected specially and deployed here in the North East. You are given special training and that is why you are called Special Forces.
“I am here to tell you that you have a great job to do and you must do it properly.
“You are deployed in the North-East to make a difference because of your special training. If there will be any challenge in terms of capacity, I believe you will fill that gap and you have all it takes to do that.
“If you apply the training that you are given, we all have cause to be proud to belong the armed forces of our great country,’’ Buratai said.
He warned them against exhibiting cowardice, saying “we do not have time for the chicken-hearted, the cowards.
“You all must brace up and be brave. We have done the greatest job so far in the North-East; the greatest in terms of degrading the terrorists.
“We are better trained, better equipped. We know tactics better than them and what is remaining for us is to dominate everywhere and dominate our areas of responsibilities.
“We must dominate the whole of the North-East.’’
He added that “the terrorists must no longer be allowed the freedom to move about and commit heinous crime and escape.
“They must be dealt with squarely. We must say no to their vain and invalid threats.
“Henceforth, there should be no dull moment in our operations. There should be no gap, but make a difference,’’
Meanwhile, tension is rising among the top hierarchy of the Nigerian military as fears continue to spread of an imminent rebellion among the rank and file, our correspondent has learnt.
Our correspondents, who spoke to four senior officers, including a Major General, learnt that many of the soldiers, especially those at the war front, had been showing signs of agitation over the inability of the military high command to provide them with weapons and adequate welfare.
One of the officers said, “I can tell you without mincing words that many of us, officers, are afraid because the soldiers can revolt anytime from now. You will recall that some soldiers of the 21 Brigade in Sambisa Forest last year went on the rampage, revolting against their superiors.
“Such rebellion only happens when the officers lose the trust of their men. The soldiers have been complaining about lack of weapons and welfare but their demands are being ignored. Always remember that whenever there is an attack, if 40 soldiers are killed, only two officers will be affected. This is because the soldiers are the ones at the battlefront.
“If they feel they are being led to their death, they will rather revolt and save themselves rather than die. As it is, we are fearful of what may happen. We don’t want a Bangladeshi Rifle Revolt in Nigeria like it happened in 2009 in Bangladesh where soldiers killed 57 officers.”
A major general told one of our correspondents that apart from the lack of weapons, the military was losing the anti-insurgency war due to two principal reasons — strategy and lack of synergy among the service chiefs.
The source alleged that there was disunity among the service chiefs which was beginning to affect the fight against terror.
He added, “The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. (Abayomi) Olonishakin, has no control over the service chiefs. He summons meetings and the service chiefs don’t come.
“The indiscipline has reached a level that the service chiefs now bypass the CDS and the Minister of Defence and write letters directly to the President. The service chiefs even attended Mr President’s campaign launch recently. This is not the military I (have) spent 33 years serving. You don’t break the chain of command.”
The senior military officer said the service chiefs had become lords unto themselves and were not open to alternative views.
He added, “On several occasions during our security meetings, if you bring up an alternative view, you become an easy target for those in power. These service chiefs have stayed for too long and are now bereft of new ideas.
“From the order we were given, Boko Haram is not supposed to occupy an inch of Nigeria’s territory. The strategy they decided to use was to spread our men thinly across the border so that we can boast that no territory is under Boko Haram.
“What we should have done is to allow Boko Haram have a particular territory which we can identify and then we would unite our men on one front and form a wall. We would then attack the insurgents head on. Our men are just being killed because they are thinly spread.”
Also, a colonel said the United States Africa Command had not been giving Nigeria the much needed Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance – ISR.
He added, “In the past, AFRICOM would provide us with intelligence and then the Nigerian Air Force would bomb terrorists’ strongholds.
“However, this arrangement seems not to be working anymore. What AFRICOM has been doing is to boost security in Niger Republic in order to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on uranium.
“It may seem they do not trust Nigeria with intelligence anymore.”
A peace, security and conflict Consultant, Group Capt. Sadeeq Shehu (retd.), said recently on Channels Television that the Nigerian forces were not given the required intelligence from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other world powers.
He said, “One area in which we are lacking and which was very decisive in Colombia is having real and live intelligence. The US Command was able to show the Colombian forces exactly where insurgent were at any particular time. We don’t have this in Nigeria.
“When the President is going to meet our allies in other countries, I will suggest humbly that we talk to these allies – US, UK, France; they have the capacity to give us satellite imagery. So, instead of our troops fighting and waiting for Boko Haram to attack, they will be able to know, 24/7, where Boko Haram is. It makes it very easy.”
He advised the military to be honest with the government as regards its needs rather than pretending that all was well.
Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.
Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.
Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding
The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.
By: Beemene Taneh
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