Army Chief Urges Newly Promoted Officers To Protect Nigeria’s Unity

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika says the Nigerian Army will continually defend and protect the territorial integrity of the nation at all times.

Speaking in Abuja at the decoration ceremony of some newly promoted brigadier generals, General Ihejirika advised the officers to be one hundred per cent loyal to the Nigerian state and the commander in-chief of the armed forces.

“There is no two ways about it (unity of the nation); whatever is said in the newspapers, whatever utterances are made, every officer of the Nigerian army must remain focused.

“The Nigerian Army will fight till the last man to ensure the unity and territorial integrity of this country at all times,’’ he said.

He added that the army will do all it takes to ensure the unity of Nigeria as one indivisible nation.

The army chief also urged the newly-promoted officers to sustain those positive attributes of hard work and dedication to duty which has brought them this far in service.

Fighting Insecurity: Nigerian Army Recruits 5,890 Soldiers

The military in Nigeria is insisting that it will continue to increase its mental and physical capacity, in order to effectively fight insecurity in the country.

In its bid to shore up its manpower, the Nigerian Army has injected 5,890 recruits into the force.

During their Passing Out Parade at the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, Kaduna State, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika, told the new soldiers that the Boko-Haram threat in the North-Eastern part of the country demands that the Armed Forces maintain a well-trained and disciplined force.

Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika said: “Nigerian Army’s mission to win all land battles, defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria, protect and advance her national interest as may be assigned in aid to civil authority, remains a task we must never fail to accomplish no matter the odds.

“Therefore, I urge you to remain selfless, disciplined, loyal and determined. As you are aware, the contemporary security challenges in our country demands that the army maintain a well-trained and disciplined force to provide appropriate response.

“Let me emphasise that our constitutional responsibilities demands that we defend the nation from external aggression, maintain its territorial integrity and secure the border from violation by land, sea and air.

“Remember that the military profession has no place for the weak and feeble minded. You must understand that the military service is all about sacrifice, honour, discipline, loyalty, perseverance and valour.

He further reminded the soildiers, “by the taking of oath of allegiance today, you are now subject to both civil and military laws. You must therefore avoid anything that has the propensity to tarnish your image, the army and the nation”,

Ihejirika also assured the new recruits of being exposed to further training in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operation.

5,890 is the highest number of soldiers to be trained at once, since the inception of the Nigerian ArmyDepot , Zaria in 1924.

Senate, Security Chiefs Meet Over Insecurity In The Country

The effort by the federal government to find a solution to the insecurity in the northern part of the country continued on Wednesday with the leadership of the Senate meeting with the service chiefs in the country over the deteriorating security situation.

It is rare to see the service chiefs at the Senate and it was rather obvious that what brought them to the National Assembly had to do with the country’s security.

The Senate President, Senator David Mark, who presided over the meeting, said the service chiefs were at the National Assembly to brief the Senate on the worrying situation.

The service chiefs at the meeting were the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Alex Barde, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ozoba as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim and the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Ita Ekepyong.

As soon as the security chiefs entered the chamber, the Senate went into a closed-door session.

Amnesty for Boko Haram

Briefing reporters after the closed-door meeting which lasted for six hours, the Senate spokesperson, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the security chiefs and heads of security agencies met the Senate with a view to finding a solution to the security challenge facing the country.

Mr. Abaribe, however, failed to disclose whether the meeting explored the issue of amnesty for the members of Boko Haram sect. But a source told Channels Television that the issue of amnesty for members of the fundamentalist sect was discussed during the meeting.

The source, however, said the lawmakers were divided over whether  or not to support amnesty for the sect.

The Senate had last week asked the federal government to explore options other than military force in addressing the relentless bomb blasts and attacks in the country.

Army Organises Skill Acquisiton Programme For Officers’ Wives

Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr Yomi Awoniyi has identified skill acquisition as a panacea to solving the nation’s unemployment profile.

Mr. Awoniyi said the skill acquired will make the youths self-employed and reliant.

Awoniyi, who represented the state governor, Capt. Idris Wada at the end of a skill acquisition programme organised for army officers’ wives and their dependants by the Defence Headquarters of Nigerian Army in Chari-Maigumeri Barracks Lokoja also noted that the state government will key into the laudable programme.

The participants of the skill acquisition programme went through a two week intensive training in soap making, tailoring, photo-processing, Information and Communicaion Technology (ICT), hats and bead making as well as fish rearing, and confectioneries.

While giving his speech, Mr. Awoniyi noted that with an abundant pool of hidden talents that can be found in towns and villages in the nation, only a conscious skill acquisition policy that will compliment formal education to meet with the nation’s target of job provision and self-reliance.

Chief Executive Officer of Brand Edge Consulting, Mrs. Modupe Wigwe commended the 325 participants who have just acquired the various skills saying that it’s a turning point in the barracks for beneficiaries of the Defence Headquarters skill acquisition programme.

The Commandant of Maigumeri Barracks Lokoja, Maj. General Alphonsus Chukwu who could not hold his joy thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, for allowing Kogi State to benefit from the programme which he described as laudable as it enables spouses of army officers to be financially independent and empowered.

The Chief of Defense Staff who was represented by Brig General Chris Olukolade stated that the program has become imperative to enable them acquire skills.

He also stated that the equipment, implements and materials required in producing the product of the skills they have acquired are moderate, adding that the certificate issued to the beneficiaries will facilitate access to soft loans and credit facilities towards take off.




Army Denies Nepotism Allegations

The Nigerian army has rejected allegations of favouritism in recruitment, promotion and retirement in the military.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Azubike Ihejirika told a news conference in Abuja that officers and men of the Nigerian army have enjoyed a steady rise under his leadership.

He said contrary to claims in some quarters promotion exercise in the army have never been based on ethno-religious consideration but in line with laid down principles of merit, federal character approval from the army council which includes the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A faceless group had accused General Ihejirika, of putting Igbo officers in key army positions even when they were not qualified for such positions, in addition to providing details of such postings and affected officers.

The group alleged that “there is a new dangerous trend in promotions and recruitment in the Nigerian Army, which should be firmly and promptly checked before it destroys the military and the country.

“This trend is clearly visible in the manner in which the current Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika, is handling these two important aspects of running an effective army institution, which is very critical to the survival of any state.

“It appears that the Chief of Army Staff is on a specific mission, most probably, sponsored by some sinister dark forces bent on destroying the army and setting the country on the path of serious conflagration. From all indications, General Ihejirika is deliberately and recklessly pursuing a plan to destroy the career of senior non-Igbo officers, while at the same time embarking on a massive recruitment of soldiers of Igbo stock in order to eclipse all other ethnic groups in the Nigerian Army. This is raising serious concern within the army,” the group alleged, among other things.

Nigerian Military Contingent Depart To Mali

First batch of 80 Nigerian military contingent to the African led international peace support mission in Mali have departed to Mali and the Chief of Army Staff has claimed the deployment enhance the federal government fight against Boko Haram.

The soldiers departed at exactly 6PM, Thursday evening.

They were airlifted by a Nigerian Air Force cargo plane to Mali through the Kaduna international airport.

The remaining 826 are to be airlifted from tomorrow.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, said the contribution of Nigeria in the restoration of peace in Mali will complement the federal government’s efforts in the fight against Boko Haram insurgence in the country.

General Ihejirika who was addressing the first Nigerian battalion to African led international peace support mission in Mali, said the crisis in Mali which has become a global concern has attracted intervention from the international community.

He said that some of the members of Boko Haram sect had undergone training in Mali.

A total of 906 personnel of the Nigerian army had undergone a four week pre-deployment training at the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre Jaji, Kaduna where they were trained on various skills ahead of the deployment.

The Nigerian soldiers will be joining troops from other countries, as part of an African force to fight against Islamist militants in the West African nation seeking to seize and overthrow the government.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ihejirika charged the soldiers to stick to the rules of their engagement if they must succeed in the enormous task, which is necessary to aid the fight against Boko Haram in the country.

He also commissioned operational vehicles for the peace mission in Mali.

Peace Enforcers

The commandant of the centre, Major General John Zaruwa, noted that the training was designed to suit the operational environment while expressing confidence that the battalion will live up to expectation.

“They are not peacekeepers, they are peace enforcers. And they are trained to use all means including force to restore peace in Mali” he explained.

The Nigerian contingent are going to an unfamiliar terrain in Mali to face a versatile adversary who observers say are determined, well-equipped and well-trained.

In the light of this, many have raised fears about the adequacy of preparations towards the welfare of the families they have left behind.

But the Chief of Army Staff said there is no cause for alarm as he wished the soldiers good luck while in Mali. He also reminded them to be disciplined and make the country proud


Nigeria Army seek retirement age of 70years for its officers

The Nigerian Army has commenced the process of reviewing upward the retirement age for its officers to 70 years old.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika made the announcement at the commissioning of the Nigerian Army Transformation and Innovation Centre in Abuja.

Lieutenant General Ihejirika noted that the review is necessary for the army to save some experience and resources, which are being lost on the basis of regular retirement.

He enjoined the officers to be up and doing in the discharge of their duties because Nigerians look up to them for their security.

Speaking on the centre that was being commissioned, the Chief of Army Staff stated that the centre will serve as a think-tank for the Nigerian army security strategies.

The Army Transformation and Innovation Centre is a place designed to assist the army to strategize on how to combat contemporary challenges using latest innovations and strategy.

The army is hoping to engage retired officers in the centre and believes that if the retirement age of officers is increased, it will offer the force more experiences.

Explaining the reason the Nigerian Army must harness the resources in its old officers, the Chief of Army Transformation and Innovation; Major General Ibrahim Sani argued that judges in Nigeria have a mandatory 70 years retirement age and until recently, university lecturers have a similar retirement age.

The minimum age for enlisting into the Nigerian Armed Forces is put at 18 years old for voluntary service and at 55 years or after putting in 35 years of service according to the Federal Civil Service; public servants are expected to retire.

However, analysts view the plan for an upward review of the retirement age for the armed forces to 70 as needless.

In other countries, such as the United States, military officers are expected to put a minimum of 20 years of service and a maximum of 30 years, according to the department of defense directive. An officer can be enlisted in the force at the age of 17.

In Britain, officers are enlisted into the force at the age of 16 and are expected to put in at least 18 years of service.

In Africa, Ghana enlists officers at the age of 18 and retires officers at 50 years while in South Africa, officers stay in active service until they are 60 years and could be enlisted at the age of 18.

Dogs to hunt for Boko Haram members

Members of Boko Haram sect are now to be hunted by military trained dogs with a specially trained squad.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika made this known  at a workshop on “Enhancing Military Professionalism in the Nigerian Army to Meet Contemporary Challenges,” in Kaduna state, on Tuesday at the One Division of the Nigerian Army.

The Army chief noted that  the Army would  train a special squad in the art of using dogs to fight Boko Haram, a fundamentalist group which has been staging violent insurgency against government and security establishments.

“I’m glad to inform you that our second batch of our trainees on the use of dogs in the fight against terrorism have just completed their training and will soon be launched to join you to further make your work easier” the COAS said.

While criticizing the failure of the military in engaging the sect members in battle, Ihejiraka urged officers of the Joint Military Task Force combating the fundamentalist group in the North to be “alive to their duties” as he charged the soldiers to consider themselves at war with the sect.

All soldiers must be combat ready at all times he said, adding that it is unacceptable for members of the Boko Haram sect to engage troops at checkpoints without much resistance.

Ihejirika said, “It is high time for you and your men to be in war mood to be able to deal with the current challenges. Otherwise, how do you explain that troops at checkpoint duty would be attacked by these decadence? And they sometimes do that and get away with it. This is an area you must work on.

“As you are out in the field at every point in time, make sure you are either conducting an operation or you are gathering intelligence. You must be doing any of the two at any point in time. If your area is too quiet, you have a reason to get worried.”

He also enjoined the need for Commanding Officers to be innovative in tackling the worsening state of insecurity across the country.

“We believe that how your troops performance is a direct reflection of the qualities of their Commanding Officers. That is why you are assembled here for the next four days to brainstorm on matters of service interest in order to improve and sharpen your professional skills.”

He however, commended the troops for the recent respite in what he called terrorist attacks in the North-West and North-East regions of the country.

He also hinted that the Army would inaugurate 14 speed boats to be used in checking militancy in Niger Delta, in a bid to stop what he described as terrorism in the entire country.