By Henry Uche
As Nigeria marks the 2021 armed Forces Remembrance Day today in honor of military personnel who have paid the supreme price in the line of duty, veteran officer, Air commodore, Abayomi Balogun (Rtd) called for a change in approach and tactics by the Armed Forces in tackling insecurity challenge in the country.
According to him, the need to change strategies is evident with the advent of new technologies, research and development in solving problems. He made this known on AIT Kakaaki program where he suggested that the military should go back to old National Security Strategy framework, he noted that the Nigerian Army alone cannot tackle insurgency hence the need for concerted synergy by all paramilitaries.
The veteran who is the founder of Green Heroes Foundation, urged the federal government to utilize the mental prowess of ex-servicemen in training and equipping young military Officers instead spending much on hiring foreign veterans. “We need a change of approach and tactics, we also need synergy from other Forces because the Army cannot do it alone. The government should adopt Private Military Contractors made up of ex-servicemen to do what they hire foreign veterans to do for us, we must look within because we have what it takes to do what the hirees does here.
He advocated for a transparent insurance scheme for retired military personnel to enable them lead a comfortable Life after service. He warned the federal government not to take the debarment allowance of military personnel for granted adding that any negligence may trigger them to use their skills sets against the state.
“When debarment allowance, pension and other allowances are taken for granted, the skills of these veterans can become inimical to the state because anybody can hire them, some of them have skills in making explosives and other dangerous weapons. So their skills can be use either positive or negative. So if these veterans are relegated they will seek alternative source to survive. We need to be very careful with them because if they get into the wrong hands ,woe betide the country, remember they are not getting any younger,” he asseverated.
On his part, a retired veteran, Captain Aliyu Babangida (Rtd) sued for a Military Interior Economy where ex-servicemen would be independent without running to government for help after service. He noted that the plight of ex-servicemen is either a motivation or otherwise to active military personnel which by extension determine how many young people are willing to join the military in the present day Nigeria.
The security analyst stressed that government’s promises towards the Armed Forces are not been felt positively by the concerned Personnel. He maintained that some sister military agencies do not understand their roles towards tackling insecurity in the country, as a result, the military is overwhelmed and cannot handle it alone any longer.
He sued for a Coordinating Agency to over the security of Life and Properties in the country, what the United States call (Homeland Security) which is all encompassing. “The Army is overwhelmed. They need support from other sister Armed Forces. While the ex-servicemen need every support from the government too to stay indoors in this Covid-19 era. We shouldn’t be seeing them protesting on the street for negligence on the side of government. What is said to be done must be seen to have been done,” he said.
He added that Armed Forces Day should not only be celebrated for veterans who paid the supreme price but a day to celebrate and motivate (in all ramifications) active/ serving military personnel whose life are endangered in the line of duty, he implored government not to ignore the families of fallen heroes.