From Molly Kilete, Abuja
Sixty-seven soldiers of the Nigerian Army who were wounded in action have completed a four month intensive training program on computer repairs/operation and Close Circuit Television (CCTV) operations.
The soldiers who sustained injuries while participating in the counter insurgency war under Operation Lafia Dole war in the north east, were trained at the Physical and Rehabilitation Centre, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
The soldiers, who were left with permanent disability as a result of the injuries they sustained, would be empowered with laptop and redeployed to their units and formations to make them productive since they are no longer fit for combat operations.
Fifty of the soldiers had a four months intensive training in computer repair and operation while the remaining 17 had three months of intensive training in Close Circuit Television (CCTV).
At a graduation ceremony held over the weekend at the training center, Acting Chief Medical Director, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, Colonel Augustine Omogbethai, while noting that the training may not address all their physical and psychological needs, it would go a long way to make them productive and live a normal life adding that the graduating soldiers are expected to be redeployed to their various units to offer supports in their new areas of expertise since they can no longer participate in combat operations.
He thanked the Chief of Army Staff(COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, for the gesture to train the wounded soldiers on skill acquisition to make them useful to themselves, their families, the Nigerian army and the society at large.
“My appreciation goes to the Chief of Army Staff who gave the strength, power and the means not only to see them being trained in new skills but also ensure we are looking after them while they were under treatment in this hospital.
“These are soldiers in their prime – some 20, 23, 27 who sustained various degrees of injury. We give them the best drugs and good feeding to ensure rapid healing. But, you will agree with me that there are certain injuries that you will sustain during combat and no matter what you do, you still need to address the minds of these war veterans.
“We have to also address their efficiency in terms of productivity. Yes, we have a team of psychologists and psychiatrist experts here at the facility. But, we realised that may not be enough until we help them to remain relevant to their families and also to the Nigerian Army and the land they are serving.
“We then came up with an idea to roll out certain skills ranging from computer training to printing, to CCTV operations with freedom of choice on what they want to do. We also understand the risk involved if we are to train them outside the hospital facility and we came up with a centre within the hospital where we trained them.
“Within the first two weeks of the training, we saw their morale boosted. They could dismantle and recouple computers which showed their commitment and readiness to embrace new skills. We don’t want them to go back to their various units and become useless. So I present to you experts. People who will do us proud”.
Also speaking, the General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Kaduna, Major General Shehu Muhammad, represented by Brigadier General Adeleke Ayannuga, who commended the management of the hospital for the training, urged the graduating students to work for excellence and efficiency and make the army proud.