From Tony Johnç, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has advised that serving military personnel cannot fight insecurity in Nigeria alone, stressing that national security as a collective responsibility requires the active involvement of military veterans.
Governor Wike stated this at the First Quarter 2021 Veterans Affairs Directorate seminar organised by the Army Headquarters Department of Administration, held at Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt.
The governor said that there is a need to harness the experience and skills of military retirees to enhance national security.
‘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 Rivers governor stated on Tuesday.
‘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 the privilege, noting that the seminar would provide them the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the efforts of Nigerian Army at ensuring a secured nation.
‘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,’ Governor Wike said in the statement.
In his opening remarks, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, emphasised on the relevance of the seminar, with the theme: “Harnessing the skills of retirees for national security”, to the retirees and discharged.
‘The importance of this seminar cannot be over emphasized bearing in mind the special role of our retired and discharged (NA) colleagues in the society and especially at a time like this when our nation is faced with diverse but surmountable security challenges,’ Gen Attahiru noted.
‘I am particularly impressed with the selection of the theme for this Seminar, which is “Harnessing the Skills of Retirees for National Security”, as it provides a forum for us to tap into the wealth of experience of our veterans in tackling the issue of insecurity in our beloved country.
The COAS, who was represented by the Chief of Administration (Army), Major General AM Aliyu, said the five days programme would benefit the participants, the Nigerian Army and the country in various dimensions.
In his welcome address, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major General Sani Mohammed, said the seminar was aimed at identifying, encouraging and harnessing the experiences of retired and discharged Army personnel, as well as other participants to enhance national security.
‘It is organised to prepare and strengthen the participants to play important supporting roles in curbing the spate of insecurity in the country,’ Gen Mohammed stated.
‘Furthermore, the seminar is expected to boost the confidence of the veterans and give them a sense of belonging, which is in line with the Chief of Army Staff’s Vision of having “A Nigerian Army that is repositioned to professionally defeat all adversaries in a joint environment”‘.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from formations, units and communities in southern Nigeria.