Jonathan Promises Improved Welfare For Military, Demands Professionalism

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has tasked newly commissioned officers to join hands with the Federal Government on the ongoing transformation in the Nigerian military, which he said was borne out of the emerging security challenges confronting the nation.

While addressing graduating military cadets during their combined passing out parade from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, North West Nigeria on Saturday, President Jonathan gave assurances of the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the welfare of serving and retired military officers who laid down their lives for the security of the nation.

President Jonathan, who was also the reviewing officer at the ceremony, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the academy, said that the Government would soon come up with a programme to honour fallen military personnel.

While highlighting the prominent role of the military in the security of the nation, he commended the NDA for churning out highly disciplined military officers who have contributed immensely to the security of the nation since its establishment in 1964.

He charged the newly commissioned officers to exhibit high sense of professionalism, which NDA is known for, in the course of their military career, warning that the government would not tolerate any act of indiscipline from them.

While noting that the Nigerian military ranks amongst the best in the world, he urged the graduating officers to also contribute their quota in the fight against insurgency in the North-East and other security challenges in other parts of the country.

A total of 114 Cadets of 61 Regular Course comprising of the Army, Navy and Airforce and another 213 Short Service Army Cadets of Course 42 were commissioned as officers. Out of them, 20 are from Liberia and Central African Republic.

The curriculum of their course includes fitness training, rigorous training in basic military subjects and outdoor training exercises. In line with the current security challenges, the cadets of the 61 regular course also underwent special training on counter-terrorism.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the event, the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, expressed hope that Nigeria would soon crush the Boko Haram insurgents.

Highlight of the parade was the replacement of the academy’s old regimental colours with new ones, and the presentation of same to the reviewing officer, as well as presentation of awards of merit to deserving cadets.

Nigerian Army Graduates 51 Cadets On Counter Terrorism Operations

The Nigerian Army has trained a total number of 51 officer cadets on counter terrorism ahead of their graduation from the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, Kaduna, North West Nigeria.

This is part of efforts by the Federal Government to curb the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-Eastern part of the country.

Addressing the Army Cadets of 61 Regular Course at the end of their training from the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji on Saturday, the Commandant of the NDA and Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, Major-General Mohammed Idris, said that the present security challenges facing the country called for effective training of young officers in the art of counter terrorism. “This has prompted the Academy to expose graduating Army cadets to various aspects of counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations both within and outside the country,” General Idris said.

He added that the NDA was prepared to support the Federal Government in fighting terrorists and other subversive elements to a standstill through effective training of the cadets.

On his part, the Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Major-General Tukur Buratai, said that the cadets were subjected to rigorous physical fitness training to develop their endurance level, and also received different lectures on the mode of operation of terrorists, as well as techniques to countering terrorism.

The Nigerian Army School of Infantry has been a major facilitator and force multiplier in the fight against terrorism in the country through effective training of Army personnel, as well as personnel of sister security services and the Nigeria Police.

Some of the training packages include raid on enemy camps, escort of VIPs, search techniques at road blocks and check points, rescue missions and identification and awareness of improvised explosive devices among others.

The sole aim of these unscheduled courses, according to the Army authorities, is to equip the troops with tactics and techniques of countering terrorism that has become a threat to the nation’s security.

Cadet Officers from the Nigerian Defence Academy over the years concentrated more on academic activities, with little physical trainings, but the advent of the Boko Haram insurgency in the country, necessitated the introduction of counter terrorism and insurgency courses in the curriculum of the institution, in order to expose them to modern ways of handling the challenge.

Boko Haram Could Be War Criminals – UN

The United Nations Human Rights Office has warned that the Boko Haram sect could be classed as war criminals, as it condemns a bloody attack on a wedding convoy.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cecile Pouilly, said members of Boko Haram and other groups and entities, if judged to have committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population could be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Pouilly called the wedding convoy attack atrocious and condemned Boko Haram’s campaign of attacks against civilians, politicians, members of government institutions, foreigners and the security forces.

Besides condemning the sect’s bloody campaign, human rights groups have also slammed government troops for killing civilians and for other violations in the battle zone.

Pouilly added that the UN is following up closely with the Nigerian authorities’ allegations of abuses and human rights violations which may have been committed by security forces when conducting operations.

She noted that the Nigerian military is in the process of finalizing a report on people detained in connection with the insurgency, and urges the government to disclose its findings.

Boko Haram: Committee Submits Report To Jonathan

The Presidential Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue with the Boko Haram dreaded sect has submitted its report to the President.

The committee which had spent 7 months travelling round Northern Nigeria trying to get the leaders of the sect to stop their widely condemned act admitted that the leadership of the insurgent group refused to have any dialogue with them despite all their efforts.

Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Turaki said, “Some of our difficulties in having a productive dialogue include the refusal of their leaders to submit to dialogue. However, many of the key members of the insurgents both in detention and at large have positively responded to contacts and have accepted the dialogue option as capable of full resolution of the conflict.”

It was in this vain that the committee recommended that the President should set up an advisory committee on continuous dialogue to continue from where they stopped.

Receiving the report, President Jonathan said that Government will look into all the recommendations, promising to set up a committee to follow up on the dialogue.

The president however told them that government will rather provide assistance to the victims of the attacks rather than compensations.

Following Boko Haram attacks and the attendant insecurity in the land, Nigeria’s President had in April 2013 set up the committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of security challenges in the North.

Although the committee is winding up, President Jonathan has said that the Nigerian Government remains open to dialogue.

Nigeria Deepens Fight Against Terrorism

The Nigerian Army has trained another batch of 120 officers on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations.

Addressing reporters during their Passing Out Parade at the Nigerian Army School Of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna, the Chief Of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika assured Nigerians that the fight against terrorism, especially in the Northern part of the country would soon be over.

He added that the Nigerian military had made significant progress in the war against insurgency.

The Chief of Army Staff, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Garba Wahab, said that with the kind of skills acquired by the officers during their training, they would contribute immensely to the war against terrorism.

He also highlighted the  successes recorded against the Boko Haram terrorists  so far.

“The Nigerian Army remains battle ready against the nation’s enemies,” the Chief of Army Staff stressed.

Some of the newly commissioned officers promised to protect the country from both internal and external attacks, and assist their colleagues, who are already on the field, to tackle the security challenges headlong.

The officers who were drawn from different army formations across the country, spent 3 months at the School Of Infantry, and during the period they were exposed to trainings and lectures on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations.

The history of Nigerian Army School of Infantry can be traced to the establishment of the Royal West African Frontier Force during the colonial administration of West Africa in the late 1950s.

Army Embarks On Training Competition To Combat Terrorism

As part of efforts to face the terrorism challenges facing the country, the Nigerian Army has organized a training competition in weapon handling, combat swimming, map reading and physical fitness.

The 3-day training competition which involves 165 warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers from five divisions is also aimed at transforming the army into a force, better able to meet contemporary challenges.

According to the General Officer Commanding, 2 division Ibadan, General Abubakar Jibrin, the training competition will afford the soldiers the opportunity of preparing to face current challenges facing the country, especially terrorism.

The officers will take part in arms handling, map reading, courage and stamina building to further equip them as agents of the Federal Government and motivate them on the need to defend the nation’s territorial integrity.

The annual training competition is taking place at the Sobi Cantonment Ilorin, of the 22 Armoured Brigade.

Defence Academy to honour Liberia’s President at graduation ceremony

The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) will on Saturday honour the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, and the Liberia’s President Helen Johnson Sirleaf at its graduation ceremony, the commandant said.

The Commandant, Maj-Gen. Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu, said in Kaduna on Friday that the two personalities would be honoured at the graduation ceremony of 262 cadets of the NDA 59 Regular Course.

Gen Onwuamaegbu disclosed this when Gov. Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State paid visited the academy, explaining that the graduands comprised cadets from the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force and two cadets from Liberia.

He said that Vice President Namadi Sambo would represent President Goodluck Jonathan on the occasion.

He said that security measures had been put in place to ensure a successful ceremony.

President Jonathan had on Friday held a closed door meeting with the Liberian President at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport Abuja.

The details of the meeting were not disclosed to journalists.