From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Army said it has begun to engage some of its retirees to assist in tackling rising insecurity in the country.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, said this, yesterday, when he declared open the First Quarter 2021 Veterans Affairs Directorate Workshop in Port Harcourt. The workshop has as its theme: “Harnessing the skills of retirees for national security.”
Attahiru, represented by the Army Chief of Administration, Maj.-Gen. Abdulrasheed Aliyu, said veterans still had a lot to offer in spite of their retirement from active service.
“We decided to engage them considering that Nigeria is currently faced with diverse security challenges, and everybody has a role to play toward securing the country. To this end, our retired and discharged personnel also have a role to play, especially at this time when our nation is faced with insecurity.
“So, this seminar seeks to tap into the wealth of experience of our retirees in tackling the nation’s diverse security challenges. It is also organised to prepare and strengthen the participants to play important supporting role in curbing the spate of crime and criminality.”
He said the seminar would seek to broaden the knowledge of veterans in the areas their skills and experience would be needed to boost national security. He said their engagement of the retiree was part of a plan to reposition the army to professionally defeat all internal and external adversaries.
The General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Maj.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, said the participants were drawn from formations, units and communities in the southern part of the country.
They would deliberate and proffer solutions for a more efficient security architecture.
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers described the initiative as a welcome development.
He said the country has continued to experience serious security challenges, hence the need for all citizens to assist the law enforcement agencies to tackle the menace.
“It is a known fact that veterans and legionnaires are force multipliers in most militaries, especially in areas such as information gathering. This is because fighting insecurity remains a collective responsibility that cannot be left for serving personnel alone.
“It is indeed a great honour and opportunity to interface with gentlemen that have served and those still serving to defend our dear nation, who still possess skills and potentials that are vital to enhancing nation security.
“The need to harness the potentials of retired/discharged personnel to enhance national security is paramount and key at this critical time, where most parts of the country are faced with security challenges.
“This is because fight against insecurity in the country remains a collective responsibility that cannot be left for the serving personnel alone”.
The governor, whose keynote address was read by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tammy Danagogo, said such seminar was vital to veterans and legionnaires, describing them as “force multipliers” in most militaries.
He charged the participants to utilise privilege, noting that the seminar would provide them the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the efforts of Nigerian Army at ensuring a secured nation.
Wike charged: “At this point, communities and the state need to be joined with the common purpose of rejecting all forms of security threats. This can be better achieved through the provision of such forum to you, since most of you have returned to your native homes on retirement and discharge.
“It means starting at the grassroots, where families and local communities are at the fore front of efforts to protect vulnerable people from succumbing to wrong ideologies. It is in this regards this seminar is organized to further enlighten you on your roles as retirees.
“Furthermore, it is a well known fact that veterans and legionnaires are force multipliers in most militaries, especially in areas such as information gathering. It is, therefore, my hope that this seminar will chat ways to carry along the retirees in ensuring national security.
“As you listen to the enriching lectures on relevant topics to be presented in this seminar, I urge you to fashion out ways of stepping up your roles as veterans towards complementing the effort of the serving personnel”.
Lectures on: “Management of retirees skills for national security and development” and “How military retirees can contribute to national security,” amongst others, were presented at the workshop.