From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief Of Army Staff(COAS), Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, has said that the lessons learnt from the Nigerian civil war would go a long way in addressing the current security challenges in the country.
Yahaya, who described the civil war which lasted between June 1967 to January 1970, when the country was barely seven years old after independence as sad, said “the study of the war has huge potentials to bring out valuable lessons that could contribute in addressing the current security challenges confronting our nation.
He made this known at the opening of the third Edition of the Army War College Nigeria Symposium on the Nigerian Civil War 2022, with theme Defence Production and Defence Procurement in the NCW: Lessons for Operational Level Commanders”, in Abuja.
Represented by the Director of training, Major General Oluyemi Olatoye, the Army chief who described the current security situation in the country as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, said the time has come for Nigeria to begin to manufacture its weapons so as not to go begging to buy outside the country when it needed it most.
He said “For any nation to adequately contain such an environment, it is necessary for the nation to develop capacity for defence production in order to drastically reduce dependence on defence procurement”.
This, he said would afford the nation the capacity to design and produce equipment required to counter its own peculiar security challenge at any point in time.
According to him, “the inadequacy and risks of over dependence on equipment procurement was aptly brought out during the civil war when Nigeria had to go searching for weapons and equipment from all parts of the world.
Speaking on the lessons learnt from the Nigerian Civil War, Yahaya, said “it is said that nationhood can either be forged in the furnace of war or by peaceful means. In the case of our dear country Nigeria, as a very young nation barely 7 years after independence, we had the sad experience of a violent civil war which lasted from June 1967 to January 1970. Sad as it may be, the study of the Nigerian Civil War (NCW) has huge potentials to bring out valuable lessons that could contribute in addressing the current security challenges confronting our nation. “This informs the inclusion of the study of the NCW in the Army War College Nigeria curriculum aimed at modelling and grooming the capacities of operational level leaders in basic military strategic thinking as well as operational planning. The objective is to make them result oriented in the increasingly challenging security environment of the 21st Century”.
He said “As a citadel of learning and highest Professional Military Education institution in the NA, the AWCN has done so much work by evolving robust training objectives that speaks to contemporary security challenges. Indeed, the College is very much aware that in both the areas of research and knowledge acquisition as well as in fighting current security challenges, no stakeholders or single actors by themselves could achieve the desired success.
“This is one of the key determinants of my vision for “A Professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria”. It is in line with this vision that the College invited erudite scholars, very senior officers and technocrats as well as captains of industries to be part of this symposium so as to enable the participants and indeed the NA as a whole gain from their wealth of experiences”.
Continuing, the COAS, said “the contemporary security environment is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. For any nation to adequately contain such an environment, it is necessary for the nation to develop capacity for defence production in order to drastically reduce dependence on defence procurement. This will afford the nation the capacity to design and produce equipment required to counter its own peculiar security challenge at any point in time. The inadequacy and risks of over dependence on equipment procurement was aptly brought out during the NCW, as Nigeria had to go searching for weapons and equipment from all parts of the world. This of course resulted in unnecessary prolongation of the crisis with attendant tolls on lives, property and finances”.
“In view of the above, I find the theme of the Third Edition of the Army War College Nigeria Symposium on the NCW 2022, “Defence Production and Defence Procurement in the NCW: Lessons for Operational Level Commanders” very apt. I am particularly happy with the caliber of resource persons to deliver the 2 papers for the symposium, the experienced and highly exposed panel of discussants as well as the distinguished audience who will immensely contribute during the discussion segment. I am certain that the outcome of this symposium will contribute immensely to the numerous successes our gallant troops are recording in all theatres of operation”.
He commended officers and soldiers of the Nigerian army for their dedication, doggedness and resilience in protecting the territorial integrity of the nation and assured them of adequate support at all times.
Earlier in his address, the Commandant of the college, Major General Bamidele Alabi, said said the Nigerian civil war study was introduced to equip participant with the understanding of the battlefield events and operational outcomes.
The commandant while noting that the Nigerian army had made giant strides in research and development to enhance its capacity in the local production of defence requirements, said the theme of the symposium was selected to key into the vision of the COAS.
“It is, therefore, envisaged that this symposium will generate arrays of views, opinions and suggestions that will contribute to the objectives of organising it.
“It is also expected to further the efforts of the COAS towards enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian army in the local production of its defence requirements.