The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Friday, said the Nigerian Army is committed to the training and retraining of its personnel to be more proficient and well-equipped to carry out its constitutional role.
The army chief disclosed this at a passing-out ceremony at 241 Recce Model Battalion, Nguru in Yobe State.
A total of 452 young officers, comprised of 26 females and 426 males had attended a three months training with the Battalion.
Buratai, who was represented by the Director of Training in the army headquarters, Major-General Abdusalami Bagudu, noted that the orientation course is to equip the young officers on various aspects of regimentation, leadership and weapons-handling.
The army chief also noted that the training will enhance the troops on operational efficiency in combating the security challenges confronting Nigeria.
The Commanding Officer, 241 Recce Model Battalion, Colonel Edwin Ugorji, added that the three months training acquainted the officers on raid operation, ambushes, communication, map reading and field craft.
The Nigerian Army has deployed 185 officers and soldiers to Guinea Bissau on a peacekeeping mission.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, announced this at an event on Friday in Kaduna State.
Buratai was represented by Major General Kelvin Aligbe at the passing out ceremony of the troops from the Martin Luther Agwai Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji.
This comes ahead of their departure to Bissau, the Guinea Bissau capital as they are expected to depart Nigeria immediately after their induction.
Aligbe warned the troops that the Nigerian Army would not tolerate any act of cowardice or professional misconduct during the operation in the West African country.
He 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 Guinea Bissau.
The army chief’s representative reminded the soldiers of the United Nations’ zero tolerance for drug trafficking and human rights abuse.
He asked them to avoid indecent characters capable of tarnishing the image of the Nigerian Army and the nation in general.
The Commandant of the Martin Luther Agwai Peacekeeping Centre, Major General James Ataguba, also spoke at the event.
According to him, the training is in line with the Nigerian Army Headquarters’ desire to ensure that troops receive the needed robust and theatre-specific pre-deployment training prior to their induction into peacekeeping missions.
Ataguba was confident that the high level of enthusiasm and cohesion exhibited by the soldiers and officers would reflect on their operational conduct abroad.
He disclosed that the troops were deployed following a 4-week special training in preparation for their induction into the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Guinea Bissau.
The Nigerian Army says the accusation of extortion by Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, against soldiers, will not be taken lightly.
Governor Zulum had earlier in a video confronted soldiers manning Maiduguri-Damaturu expressway accusing them of extorting travellers.
In reaction to this, Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Aminu Iliyasu in a statement on Monday said as a professional and disciplined institution, it will not take such allegations lightly, particularly coming from a state executive.
They assured that the allegation will be duly investigated and culprits will be dealt with accordingly.
“The Nigerian Army as a professional and disciplined institution views such allegations seriously, particularly coming from a State Executive.
“It is on record that, whenever such allegations of troops’ misconduct were made in the past, the Nigerian Army never reneged in conducting thorough investigations to establish them and where any infractions were established against any personnel, appropriate sanctions were applied in line with extant rules and regulations as provided for in the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“Thus, the Nigerian Army wishes to assure the good people of Borno State and indeed the nation at large that any allegations of misconduct by Nigerian Army troops will be duly investigated and culprits will be dealt with accordingly,” the statement read in part.
The Nigerian Army, however, pointed out that the outburst of the governor could be counterproductive in its fight against insurgency.
“However, it is important to unequivocally observe that public outburst, particularly by eminent personalities such as a State Executive, could be counterproductive and indeed capable of reversing the gains recorded so far in the ongoing fight against insurgents and other criminal elements across the nation,” the statement read further.
The Nigerian Army, therefore, assured citizens that it remains committed to the protection of lives, properties of all law-abiding citizens as it is committed to wiping out insurgency in the North East and other forms of criminality across the country.
Troops of the Nigerian Army have rescued 461 Boko Haram captives and killed some insurgents during a raid and search operation between Jakana and mainok area of Maiduguri-Damaturu Road in Borno state.
The operation which was carried out by combined troops of 5 and 29 Battalion in conjunction with the Chief of Army Staff intervention Battalion 2, combed Boko Haram hideouts and killed some insurgents.
According to Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator in a statement on Sunday, those rescued comprise of “100 adult males, 154 adult females and 207 children during raid/cordon and search operations on 4 January 2020.”
Colonel Iliyasu also released pictures which according to him are bodies of killed Boko Haram criminals and a cache of arms and ammunition captured by troops of 29 Task Force Brigade after an encounter at Jakana on a separate but continuing encounter on Saturday, January 4.
The Media Coordinator said the operations which lasted between 2nd to 4th January 2020 was about “Traction of Boko Haram hideouts between Jakana and Mainok by combined troops of 5 and 29 Brigades in conjunction with the Chief of Army Staff Intervention Battalion 2.”
Another group of four minors according to the statement were also rescued by troops of the 159 Task Force Battalion deployed at a checkpoint along Damasak-Kareto road in Mobbar Local government of Borno State.
The Nigerian Army says it has resolved its age-long land dispute with residents of Serti in Gashaka local government area of Taraba State.
Speaking during the West African Social Activities Day on Friday in Taraba, Commanding Officer, 20 Model Battalion Serti, Sani Adamu, said the resolution was handled by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
At the same event, the traditional ruler of Gashaka Kingdom, Zubairu Hamman-Gabdo thanked Buratai “for his magnanimity” in resolving the dispute.
“I want to use this medium to inform the people of Gashaka that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai holds this community in high esteem,” Adamu said in his speech.
“And as such, the lingering problem that has been on for many years in this unit that was yet to be solved has just recently been solved with the permission granted by the Chief of Army Staff to let go of the encroached barrack land and for us to take possession of the compensated land that was given by the Gashaka Local Government Council in collaboration with the Gashaka Emirate Council.
“This information was sought just three days ago when I was with the Chief of Army Staff in Yola. And I find it necessary to put it on record on a day like this that we have both our royal fathers and also our mother in our presence. So to you people of Gashaka, I want to say a very big congratulations; and we thank you for your patience and understanding.”
The Nigerian Army has approved new postings and appointments of some of its senior officers.
Approved by the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai, the Force says the posting is a routine exercise carried out to reinvigorate the system for greater professional effectiveness/efficiency.
“Due to the recent promotion of some senior officers, it became imperative to deploy them to appropriate appointments to the new ranks.
“Consequently, the Nigerian Army has just released the postings and appointments of the affected officers” a statement by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said.
They are expected to take effect immediately.
According to the statement, the highlight of the posting included the appointment of Maj Gen EO Ogunkale from Command Army Record Lokoja to Defence Headquarters as Chief of Defence Standards and Evaluation.
Others were the appointment of Maj Gen AO Uthman from Nigerian Army School of Signals, Apapa, Lagos to Defence Headquarters as Director Defence Communications, Maj Gen OO Soleye from Defence Headquarters to Headquarters Command Army Record Lokoja as Commander, Maj Gen YI Shalangwa the erstwhile Director Legal Services ‘Army’ now redeployed to Defence Headquarters as Director Legal Services, Maj Gen DC Onyemulu from Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi, Lagos becomes Director Armed Forces Simulation Centre, while Maj Gen HI Bature is redeployed from Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command, Minna to Defence Headquarters and appointed Director Liaison.
Others include; Maj Gen IM Obot to remain at Nigerian Army Resource Centre as Participant Senior Executive Management and Policy Course, Maj Gen BO Sawyer to remain in Army Headquarters Department of Policy and Plans as Director Plans.
Also Maj Gen LA Adegboye the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division is to remain as GOC 82 Division, Maj Gen MA Masanawa from Army Central Ammunition Depot to Defence Headquarters and appointed Director Innovation and Combat Development.
Similarly, Maj Gen G Oyefesobi from Defence Intelligence Agency to Headquarters of the recently created Nigerian Army Special Forces Corps as Commander, Maj Gen MM Bunza the erstwhile Commandant Nigerian Military School Zaria, is redeployed to Nigerian Army Education Corps as Corps Commander Education, Maj Gen DH Ali-Keffi from Nigerian Army School of Infantry Jaji to Defence Intelligence Agency and appointed Director of Administration, Maj Gen GO Adesina from Army Headquarters Department of Army Policy and Plans to Nigerian Army Signals School Apapa, Lagos as Commandant while Maj Gen PE Eromosele from National Defence College Abuja to Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering Makurdi as Commandant.
Others are – Maj Gen KO Aligbe from Defence Headquarters Abuja to Nigerian Army School of Infantry Jaji and appointed Commandant, Maj Gen AB Ibrahim to remain in Army Headquarters and appointed Director Training, Maj Gen GK Nwosu to remain in Nigerian Army Special Forces School Buniyadi as Commandant, Maj Gen FB Fakrogha to remain in Nigerian Army Women Corps as Commander Women Corps, Maj Gen S Idris from Defence Headquarters to Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership Peace Keeping Centre and appointed Commandant.
Similarly, Brig Gen JC Ogbonna from Headquarters 81 Division to Headquarters 82 Division appointed Division’s Training Officer, Brig Gen BH Mohammed from Headquarters Nigerian Army Education Corps to Nigerian Military School Zaria as Commandant, Brig Gen GO Omorogbe from Headquarters 4 Brigade Benin to Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre Jaji as Chief of Staff, Brig Gen AJ Fagge from Defence Space Agency to Ministry of Defence and appointed Principal General Staff Officer to Honourable Minister of Defence, Brig Gen NI Najaja from 6 Military Intelligence Brigade Portharcourt to Open Source Intelligence Command as Commander and Brig Gen AO Quadri from Headquarters 81 Division Lagos to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command Minna as Director Training.
Also, Brig Gen FG Dimlong from 105 Division’s Equipment Support (DES) to 101 DES and appointed Commander, Brig Gen M Danmadami from Headquarters 3 Division Jos to Office of the Chief of Army Staff as Ag Director Procurement, Brig Gen OJ Akpor from 1 Division Garrison Kaduna to Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna appointed Director Military Training, Brig Gen BU Yahaiya from Ministry of Defence to Nigerian Army Resource Centre Abuja and appointed Subject Expert South East Asia, Brig Gen IM Jallo from Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna to 4 Brigade Benin as Commander, Brig Gen HE Akpan from Army War College to Directorate of Army Recruitment, Resettlement and Reserve and appointed Commander, Brig Gen O Nwachukwu to remain in Defence Headquarters as Ag Director Defence Information, Brig Gen MK Gara from Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations to 8 Division Garrison as Commander and Brig Gen MU Wambai from SI List (SEC 41) to Headquarters Directorate of Legal Services as Acting Director Legal Services among others.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai while wishing all the officers well in their respective appointments charged them to take their new responsibilities seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to the Service and the Nation.
The Nigerian military is heavily investing in young Nigerians to build innovative solutions to the country’s national security challenges, the Director-General of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), Major-General Victor Ezugwu, said on Monday.
Major-General Ezugwu was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He said the investment was initiated by President Muhammdu Buhari’s decision to upscale the military’s ability to build its own technology.
“The President ordered us to look into local content for developing strategies and equipment for military solutions to our national security challenges,” he said. “And DICOM is the hub of that solution to our national defence equipment production.”
On December 3, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled Made-in-Nigeria Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and Major-General Ezugwu noted that the production of the vehicles was mostly done by Nigerians.
“We are using local content up to 70 percent in the production of the armoured fighting vehicles that was recently commissioned by the President.
“And we have gathered some Nigerians who I know are blessed with a lot of human resources. We have gathered engineers. All of them are Nigerians, no foreign advisers or consultant that produced the Ezegwu MRAPs that Mr President has commissioned. The oldest among them is 31 years old.”
DICON has produced ten MRAP units for the army and have signed a contract to produce another 28 units.
“We still need a kind of production line that will enable us to increase the number we can churn out within a given amount of time. The Minister of Defence is helping us with that.”
According to the Major-General, the ten MRAPs were produced within a period of seven months. “We outsourced some parts to our collaborators,” he said. “The Chief of Army Staff has said his joy will be when we reduce foreign content to 10 percent.
Major-General Ezugwu added that DICON was also looking to solve other technical challenges for the military.
“Apart from the MRAP, we have looked into the problems in the north-east and we have begun to address the issues. We have developed a mines-sweeper and mines-roller that is going to address the issues of landmines. We are producing ballistics and helmet for the military and other equipment, all locally.”
Saving Foreign Exchange
Major-General Ezugwu said the focus on local innovation is already saving the country some foreign exchange.
“We are saving a lot of money that would have been used by contractors to import these things abroad,” he said.
“The MRAP we produce here locally is about a unit cost of N70m; those we import from abroad cost us in the neighborhood of between $500,000 to $1,000,000. So we are trying to reduce capital flight in Nigeria.
“We need homegrown solutions for our problems. Let us, DICON and Command Engineering Depot in Kaduna, which is a Nigerian army establishment, to go into production of these MRAPs. We looked at all other MRAPs that other countries in Europe have produced, so we now designed one that can address the terrain in the north-east. Because when you get a MRAP from abroad, the issue of our weather and environment may not be so much captured in production.”
A Starting Point
The Major-General went on to stress that the MRAP production was a starting point.
“In the next five years, if this feat is sustained, I can assure you that we might not have any need to import any vehicle into this country for military purposes.”
Although DICON has been in existence since the 1960s, the Major-General noted that its operation is being ramped up by the current administration.
“This is the time that we have a strategic leader who thinks ahead, who is desirous to ensure that Nigeria’s defence capacities are enhanced. Also, I must thank the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, for having the courage to assist the DICON and Command Engineering Depot to achieve this project.
“The funding of the (MRAP) project, which is valued at well over a billion naira was drawn from the support of the army’s headquarters.
“The fact that we have not made an inroad into defence production in the past is because the environment, the strategic guidance, was not actually there. But now we have leaders both at the military and political levels that support defence industry production. And that is why things are going the way they are going.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday advised Nigerian soldiers to keep to the rules of engagement and international code of conduct while carrying out their constitutional duties.
The President was speaking at the annual Chief of Army Staff Conference in Kaduna on Tuesday.
The Nigerian army has been serially accused, by rights groups, of flouting human rights during its operations.
However, on Tuesday, President Buhari commended the army for its work in keeping the country safe from terrorists.
“I urge our soldiers to continue to abide by their ethics and ethos and keep to the rules of engagement and code of conduct while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws are promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations,” the President said.
He then saluted the “army’s courage and gallantry” while noting that its achievements have come with associated costs.
“Many personnel have lost their lives, some have sustained injuries and a significant number have been away from their families for a long time,” he said.
“I, once again, send my condolences to the families of those who have paid the supreme sacrifice in an effort to safeguard the sovereignty of our great nation. May their souls rest in perfect peace.”
Following a reinvigorated drive to end the insurgency in Nigeria, the Army has continued to sustain the tempo of the ongoing Counter-Terrorism operations in the North East with a view to decimating and destroying the remnant Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) criminals across the Operation LAFIYA DOLE Theatre.
In one of its numerous operations conducted across the Theatre on the 16th of November 2019, troops of 26 Task Force Brigade embarked on a clearance patrol to Dalu Village within the Mandara Mountains in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State.
According to an army communique, the operation follows some credible intelligence reports on the presence of criminal insurgents within that area.
On confirming the reports, troops soon established contact with the marauding terrorists and effectively subdued them with their superior firepower during the ensuing firefight.
Subsequently, the troops proceeded to thoroughly clear the Village of the presence of the criminal insurgents.
The army notes that the clearance operation yielded good dividends as the troops found and rescued an octogenarian, 3 women and 4 children hitherto held captives by the criminal insurgents.
The rescued victims were promptly evacuated and children among them were equally administered with Polio Vaccination by a Nigerian Army medical team.
Army Spokesman, Aminu Iliyasu stated that no causality was recorded by own troops during the commando operations.
He, however, adds that many of the Boko Haram criminal elements were observed to have fled in disarray towards the summit of the Mandara Mountains with gunshot wounds.
“The troops’ resilience and doggedness are unwavering as further exploitation to complete the annihilation of the insurgents are being sustained in the mountainous environment,” Colonel Iliyasu said.
He further stated that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reassure the general public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute its constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better secured Nigeria.
Colonel Iliyasu also said that the COAS thanks all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army as they sustain the conduct of various operations and routine exercises nationwide.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Olubunmi Irefin, has defended the proposed Nationwide ‘Operation Positive Identification’ exercise, saying that it is solely driven by intelligence.
The GOC who delivered a lecture on ‘Contemporary security issues in the country’, at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, said that the operation is not meant to scare the public, but the insurgency war demands that they Army pre-empts the activities of the insurgents.
He revealed that over 20 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested recently in Lagos in their sleeper cell through the operation.
“It is an intelligence-driven operation; we actually know the kind of people we are looking for because we get information.
“It’s not that we are stopping everybody; we are helping you all live in peace. The insurgents just need one percent to rubbish our 99% success; so we try to pre-empt them, in the process, one or two individuals might just be bumped down and that is what Nigerians will escalate.
“If we paraded the over 20 persons we have arrested in Lagos through Operation Positive Identification, the whole Lagos will be in panic mood, all of them confessed to be members of Boko haram and they are quietly in their sleeper cell, so we should not go there to identify who they are, make an effort to pick them? So when they strike, the first person they will ask is the GOC, what are you doing to allow one Boko Haram? And it will make a mockery of my 99% success.”
General Irefin who also spoke about the sums requested by the Army on military hardware in the fight against terrorism, asked critics to seek more enlightenment on what it takes to protect a nation against aggression and terrorism.
“A lot of people in this country don’t even know that the country is at war; it’s the military and Boko Haram. And so when they say give $1bn to the military, one “security expert” will say ‘change it to Naira’, you’re talking about N360bn as if we are going to buy bread and bean cake (Akara).
“We are talking about $1bn to buy equipment that can be knocked out at battle. What can $1bn buy; we are talking of tanks T92-2000, google it and see the price and now look at how many of such we need; don’t let us even go into aircraft and ships,” he said.