Armed Forces Deploy 57 Officers, Soldiers To Mali

 

The Nigerian Armed Forces has deployed 57 officers and soldiers to Mali on a peacekeeping mission.

Drawn from the Army, Air Force and Navy, the troops are expected to depart Nigeria for Mali in a couple of days.

Addressing them on Friday during their passing out ceremony from the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State, the Commander of the Army Infantry Corps, Major General Stevenson Olabanji who represented the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, warned that the Nigerian Army will not tolerate any act of cowardice or professional negligence while carrying out their operations in the West African country.

He also advised the contingent to abide by the rules of engagement, exhibit braveness as professionals and to also respect the cultural sensitivity of the people of Mali.

Beyond that, he reminded them of the United Nations’ zero tolerance on drug trafficking and human rights abuse.

Saudi Rules Women Can Join Armed Forces

 

Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday it will allow women in the ultra-conservative kingdom to serve in the armed forces as it embarks on a broad programme of economic and social reforms.

The move is the latest in a series of measures aimed at increasing the rights of women in the kingdom, even as rights groups accuse Riyadh of cracking down on women activists.

“Another step to empowerment,” the foreign ministry wrote on Twitter, adding that women would be able to serve as private first class, corporal or sergeant.

Last year, Saudi Arabia authorised women to join its security forces.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has approved a handful of reforms aimed at widening women’s rights, including allowing them to drive and to travel abroad without consent from a male “guardian”.

But he has at the same time overseen the arrest of several prominent women’s rights campaigners, including activist Loujain al-Hathloul.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, is pushing to improve its image and attract tourists as part of a plan to diversify its economy away from oil.

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ

 

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says no new salary scale has been approved for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).

Acting Director of Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, said this in a statement in reaction to a purported document containing a new upgraded salary structure for the military.

“The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has observed with utmost dismay, the circulation of a fictitious document that has gone viral on social media purportedly showing a new upgraded Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) salary structure with effect from May 2019,” he said.

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“The DHQ wishes to clarify that the said document does not exist, neither does it reflect the true salary structure of personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.”

Colonel Nwachukwu noted that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, had signed a new minimum wage of N30,000 for workers across the country.

He, however, stated that it was “outrightly mischievous” for anyone to circulate fake documents detailing the salary structure of the AFN.

“The DHQ, therefore, wishes to reiterate that the purported new salary scale for members of the AFN being circulated is nothing but a false and malicious publication intended to cause disaffection among members of the AFN, as no such salary scale exists,” the DHQ spokesman added.

He stressed further that it was pertinent to note that the military does not approve salaries for its personnel.

Colonel Nwachukwu, thereafter, urged Nigerians, especially members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to discountenance the purported document.

Budgetary Provisions ‘Cannot Adequately Fund Armed Forces’ – Chief Of Defence Staff

Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, says the annual budgetary provisions cannot fund the Armed Forces with its statutory responsibilities of safeguarding the nation.

Olonisakin made the statement when he received the Senate Committee on Defence during an operation review session on Tuesday at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.

He said, “We have followed due process in implementing these projects some of which were completed in the year 2017. Budgetary provisions alone cannot adequately fund the requirements of the Armed Forces. Thus, alternative funding options need to be given serious consideration.”

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The Defence Chief appealed to the National Assembly to formulate legislation that will address the funding challenge in the armed forces particularly at a time when the nation’s security architecture is under review by the presidency.

In response, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Abubakar Kyari, commended the Defence Headquarters in its role in fighting terrorism despite the funding challenges.

He said, “You are all aware that normal appropriation is not enough to sustain military operations especially the type that we have found ourselves in today.

“There is no doubt that the Defence Headquarters plays a crucial role in the coordination of the Armed Forces which has successfully sustained troops in the various operations across the country.

The appeal by the CDS comes during a period of intense engagement of the Armed Forces in the Lake Chad Basin just as other operations occupying various services continue in other parts of the country.

Air Chief Asks Armed Forces To Intensify Efforts Against Insurgents

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique

 

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has asked members of the Armed Forces to intensify efforts at flushing out the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.

Abubakar made this call at the graduation ceremony of Junior Course 86 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, Kaduna State,

He said, “I will want you to bear in mind that you will be given appointment and responsibilities that will challenge and test the skills you have acquired whilst on this course.

“For members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, your sense of judgment in applying these skills will even be more apparent now that we are confronting a lot of internal security challenges in our country, most especially the menace of Boko Haram, ethnic-religious crisis and herdsman/farmers crisis.”

Abubakar advised the officers to remain professional in the discharge of their duties and always operate within the ambit of the law.

He said the Federal Government will continue to train military officers and other security forces to effectively combat insecurity.

Buhari Promises Improved Funding For Armed Forces

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised appropriate and sustained funding of the nation’s Armed Forces.

The President disclosed this on Monday during the opening ceremony of the International Airpower Seminar in Abuja. According to him, the funding will maintain the efficiency and professionalism of the Armed Forces.

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President Buhari at the seminar also appreciated the efforts of the armed forces and their assistance in tackling insurgency and terrorism in friendly countries.

The seminar which is organised by the Nigerian Airforce had participants from about 18 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

The three-day seminar is aimed at drawing from the expertise and experiences of the participating countries in tackling the Boko Haram insurgents and other terrorist acts.

Britain To Recruit Foreigners Into Armed Forces

A section of British soldiers. Credit: @BritishArmy

 

Citizens of Commonwealth countries will be able to join the British armed forces even if they do not live in Britain, the government said on Monday as it struggles to fill vacancies.

Britain’s junior defence minister Mark Lancaster said in a statement to parliament that the previous five-year residency requirement for Commonwealth army recruits has been removed.

“Applications will be accepted from all Commonwealth countries,” Lancaster said in his statement, adding that the reform had been introduced “in light of changes to the size of our armed forces”.

Lancaster said that Commonwealth applicants would have to be aged over 18 — two years more than the minimum for Britons — so as “to mitigate the risks associated with unaccompanied minors travelling to the UK without the guarantee of a job”.

A limited waiver to the residency requirement had already been introduced in 2016 to allow up to 200 Commonwealth personnel per year to fill skill shortage posts. This cap has now been increased to 1,350 across the navy, army and air force personnel.

The Commonwealth is an association of 53 states, most of them former British colonies, including Australia, Canada and India.

Lancaster also said that a 15-per cent limit on Commonwealth nationals in strategic British army positions would be maintained “to sustain operational effectiveness”.

A report by the National Audit Office, an independent government watchdog, earlier this year found that the full-time military was running a 5.7 per cent shortfall in its ranks.

An extra 10,600 recruits were required to fill the “largest gap in a decade,” the report said.

AFP

Five Dead After Two Army Helicopters Collide In France

A helicopter of the French gendarmerie flies close to the site of an accident near Carces lake, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of the resort of Saint-Tropez, on February 2, 2018, after two army helicopters crashed into each other. PHOTO: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Five army officers were killed Friday after two training helicopters crashed into each other near a lake in southern France, officials said, one of the deadliest such accidents involving the country’s armed forces in recent years.

The collision took place near the lake of Carces, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of the resort of Saint-Tropez, just a few minutes after takeoff at 8:30 am (0730 GMT).

All three people aboard one craft, and the two in the other died in the crash, the Marseille prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said Friday.

The cause of the accident was still unclear, and Tarabeux said the helicopters were not equipped with “black box” data recorders that might have explained what happened.

But he said that the three instructors involved in the exercise were “experienced” as were the two trainees who were with them and that investigators had excluded the possibility that the helicopters had hit a power line.

A director at the nearby EALAT light-aircraft training school where the two Gazelle helicopters were based said the two instructors at the controls each had 3,000 to 5,000 hours of flight on their record.

“I don’t think it’s a pilot error — may be a lapse of concentration, or a mechanical problem,” he told AFP.

The two aircraft were discovered about 600 metres apart, one having crashed onto a road and the other in a forest, Tarabeux said at a press conference on a tarmac at the EALAT school alongside defence minister Florence Parly.

One helicopter shattered on impact, spreading debris across a wide area, while the other burst into flames when it hit the ground.

The three instructors were identified as lieutenant-colonel Stephane Chaon, 44, captain Francois Mille, 35, and captain Patrick Vasselin, 52, while the trainees were captain Quentin Gibert, 29, and lieutenant Sebastien Greve, 30. All were married and they leave behind a total of 11 children.

Parly said it was “a day of mourning for all in the defence community, which stands alongside the brothers in arms, the friends and the families of the victims”.

– ‘Terrible shock’ –

President Emmanuel Macron hailed the “commitment of these officers who were preparing themselves for future missions”.

The French-made Gazelle helicopters entered service in the 1970s, and are used for reconnaissance and light attacks as well as training.

More than two dozen Gazelles are stationed at the Lejay school at the Cannet-des-Maures base, along with Fennec and Puma choppers.

A local councillor, Jean-Pierre Veran, said helicopters “regularly” fly over the zone and there had never been an accident, calling it a “terrible shock” with debris spread over a large area.

Army chief of staff Jean-Pierre Bosser expressed his “solidarity with the family and friends of the victims, as well as their comrades” at the training facility.

The last major aviation accident involving the security forces in France took place in May 2016, when a police helicopter crashed near Cauterets in the Pyrenees mountains, killing four on board.

An investigation later determined it was caused by pilot error.

AFP

“Talking Is Cheap But War Is Expensive,” Obiano Says On Armed Forces Day

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has urged the people of Anambra state and Nigerians to continue appreciating the efforts of the security personnel in their responsibility of providing adequate security and sustaining the peace and unity of the country.

The governor stated this on Monday in Awka, the state capital while marking the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

“Talking is cheap but war is expensive,” he said while advising every citizen to adopt talking on a roundtable in every serious issue.

Mr Obiano also used the opportunity to thank members of the security agencies in the sacrifices they have made in the peace enjoyed by residents of his state.

The state’s Chief Executive recalled that the governorship and senatorial elections were successful as a result of the synergy between military and paramilitary officers.

He added, “I thank the service commanders that are here. They made the two elections both the one of November 18 that re-elected me for a second term and one of yesterday successful. They worked very hard to make sure it went well.”

Babangida Calls For Urgent Solution To Killings In Nigeria

Nigeria Needs A Viable Opposition, Says Babangida
File photo

Former Military President, Mr Ibrahim Babangida, has called for urgent steps to be taken in addressing the numerous security challenges confronting the nation.

He was particularly worried about the current bloodshed in some parts of the country.

“We have witnessed so much bloodshed through communal clashes and conflicts that need urgent actions to stop them now,” he said.

The former leader also urged members of the Armed Forces and security agencies to remain apolitical, neutral and focus on the ethics of discipline which is the hallmark of their profession.

Leaders at all levels of governance were also not exempted as Babangida admonished them to serve as national vanguards in resolving the various conflicts affecting the nation’s security.

He added, “As people, we should inculcate our cultural values, that promote good conduct, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence. We should eschew hate speeches, discrimination and other vices that trigger senseless violence and bloodshed.”

While congratulating the Nigerian Armed Forces on the celebration of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, he advised Nigerians to demonstrate their appreciation of the courage of the fallen heroes by providing support for the welfare and upkeep of the families they left behind.

Rivers State Marks Armed Forces Remembrance Service

The Rivers State Government on Sunday held an interdenominational service in honour of the Nigerian Armed Forces ahead of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day tomorrow.

In attendance were members of the military, the state Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike and his cabinet members.

See Pictures Below:

 

Imo State Govt Holds Armed Forces Memorial Service

Ahead of the Armed Forces Remembrance day, the Imo State Government on Sunday held a memorial service in honour of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The event that took place at the Government House Chapel in Owerri, the state capital drew members of the military, Governor Rochas Okorocha and his wife, Nneoma Okorocha and members of his cabinet.

See photos below: