Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, has charged the various files commanders of the Nigerian Army to find and destroy all criminal groups terrorizing the country and expose their sponsors and collaborators.
Buratai warned his commanders that he would no longer tolerate laxity in all army operations. The army chief said he wants to see an all-encompassing positive change in Nigerian Army operations and the security situation in the country in the shortest possible time.
‘There is no time for complacency, no time for excuses and there will be no tolerance for shortcomings or failures; the situation must be reversed immediately,’ Gen Buratai said.
The COAS sounded the warning at a meeting he held with Principal Staff Officers (PSO), General Officers Commanding (GOC), Field Commanders, commanders of army training institutions at the Army Headquarters Abuja.
Buratai’s warning comes against the backdrop and condemnation of the performance of the service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari in tackling the security challenges bedevilling the country.
Buratai charged the commanders to ensure that the charge given by the President and Commander in Chief must be fully implemented so as to speedily crush Boko Haram terrorism and the myriad of security threats facing the nation.
He said the Nigerian Army has commenced a major reorganisation of her operations for optimal performances.
To curb the excesses of terrorists, bandits, and other criminals terrorizing the country, Buratai said, ‘we are expecting more equipment in the coming weeks. But we are not just expecting and doing nothing. As you are all aware already, we have continued to ramp up our domestic efforts at producing some key platforms and equipment for our operations.’
The meeting which held for over seven hours had all the top military officers in attendance.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, acting director, army public relations Colonel Saghir Musa, said ‘the COAS charged all Commanders to lead the charge by being out in the field to effectively oversee the operations. The COAS states that the criminals and their collaborators and sponsors must be exposed, flushed out and destroyed.
‘Gen Buratai warned that he wants to see an all-encompassing positive change in Nigerian Army operations and the security situation in the country,’ noting that ‘there is no time for complacency, no time for excuses and there will be no tolerance for shortcomings or failures; the situation must be reversed immediately.’
To drive home his determination to reverse the trend of insecurity, Gen Buratai ordered that the year 2020 Nigerian Army Day Celebration (earlier scheduled for Uyo in Akwa Ibom state in July) is now to hold in Katsina State during which a major exercise code-named EX SSAHEL SANITY will be conducted.
‘Presently, an additional 47 Ezugwu MRAPs are being produced by DICOM. Equally, DICON is producing 2 million rounds of the 7.62mm (Special) ammunition and 10,000 units of fragment jackets and ballistics helmets for the Nigerian Army. These are critical items which must be made available to troops for immediate use.
‘The Nigerian Army is also producing improvised Armed Forces Vehicles such as the Champion 1 and the Conqueror armoured vehicles for its operations. In the same vein, we have procured more than 250 Toyota Hilux vehicles. These vehicles have been modified to gun trucks and inducted into Operation Lafiya Dole and the North West anti-banditry operations.
In the area of intelligence, the COAS said to the Field Commanders, ‘asymmetric warfare is complex as such we must rely on timely intelligence. The Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps has been greatly modernized with new equipment and capabilities. Our overall intelligence operations have significantly improved but we still need to do much more:
‘Commanders must build and develop their own intelligence capabilities in addition to whatever they may get from higher headquarters. You must push your subordinate commanders to cultivate and develop local sources within your areas of responsibility. Some of the tactical level intelligence that may be obtained at such levels may turn out to have significant operational or even strategic relevance.’
Answering reporters’ questions, Col Sagir said It is not true that the introduction of Super Camps into the Operation Lafiya Dole theatre has given the terrorists more room to operate noting, ‘all military operations are dynamic. It is appraised from time to time. The COAS haven seen all the concepts decided to adopt the Super Camp concept which has been very successful in neutralizing hundreds of terrorists.
‘Advantages of the Super Camp Concept include high flexibility, additional mobility as troops are always in mobile positions to deal with attacks from terrorists. The times when you heard that soldiers’ bases were over-run are no more. Super Camp is one of the best innovations introduced into combat by the Nigerian Army. Through it many terrorists have been neutralized and the camps destroyed.’