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DEFENCE

Appreciating the Elasticity of Nigerian Army

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By Frank Itodo 

In the annals of the Nigerian Army, it has never been this tough. The crisis in North-East Nigeria is taking its toll, and this calls for concern from all critical stakeholders. That we have managed to stay secured remains a mystery because the Nigerian Army has been stretched thin in the task of ensuring that Nigeria’s territory is preserved from eternal aggression and also ensuring that every Nigerian is free to go about his or her endeavours without fear.

This didn’t happen overnight. In my opinion, it is as a result of the failure of past leadership in the country to correctly orientate and equip the Nigerian Police for greater efficiency.

They felt it wasn’t such a big deal to have a responsive police force that would live up to expectation. So the result is the involvement of the Nigerian Army in roles that ordinarily the Nigerian Police should be able to handle.

The Nigerian Army had indeed saved the day when the nation was bedevilled with activities of militant groups. I recall the case of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which indeed tasked the operational effectiveness of the Nigerian Police that the Nigerian Army had to come to the rescue. And as usual, a crisis of phenomenal proportion was averted.

What Nigerians didn’t realize was that the Nigerian Police whose constitutional role it is to quell such uprising were helpless and could not match the violent nature of the IPoB militant group. And as they say, the rest is also history and no form of commendation was extended to the Nigerian Army.

We were also witnessed to the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers that almost brought the economy of the country to its knees. Again the Nigerian Police was missing in action for lacking in the capacity to deal with the threat posed by the Niger Delta Avengers. This too became history not without the great sacrifices made by the Nigerian Army.

The interesting thing about the failure of the Nigerian Police int  the discharge of its duties is the fact that at some point the Nigerian Army was simultaneously carrying out eleven military operations across the country at the same time. For example, there was Operation Lafiya Dole set up to counter-terrorism and Boko Haram insurgency. It was later expanded to specialized operations including “Operation Crackdown,” “Operation Gama Aiki,” and “Operation Safe Corridor.”

There was also Operation Crocodile Smile II, an exercise which involves amphibious war games in the Niger Delta region and parts of Ogun State. It was aimed at protecting the nation’s crude oil infrastructure. Operation Tsera Teku was launched in Warri, Delta state to check piracy in the Niger Delta region. Operation Awatse was started to dismantle the operational bases of pipeline vandals and militants in the coastal areas of southwest Nigeria.

Operation Sharan Daji/ Operation Harbin Kunama II was established in the Northwest to battle armed bandits, cattle rustlers and robbers operating mainly in Zamfara, Kaduna, and fringes of Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Kano states. Operation Safe Haven is stationed in Plateau State with areas of operation extending to Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Kwara state to quell ethno-religious conflicts and other criminal activities.

Operation Delta Safe This was set up to replace Operation Pulo Shield. It is aimed at containing security challenges in the Niger Delta, especially the protection of critical national assets and provision of security in the area. Amongst a host of others.

What does this tell us? It’s merely the fact that the Nigerian Police failed woefully in the above areas that the Nigerian Army had to step in. With such operations by the Nigerian Army, it is sufficing to say that the Nigerian Army has been indeed stretched thin. However, they have not buckled, and we do not need to wait for them to buckle before the right thing should be done.

The Nigerian Police must get serious and stop playing to the gallery. The times we are in requires that they put their best foot forward in the area of crime prevention, maintenance of law and order and dealing with societal disorders. The political authorities in Nigeria must commend the Nigerian Army for its invaluable contribution to the sustenance of peace in Nigeria.

The political authorities must also see the burden on the shoulders of the Nigerian Army with its various operations in the country and begin the process of overhauling the operations of the Nigerian Police for greater efficiency before things get out of hand.

I have reserved praises for the leadership of the Nigerian Army whose dynamism has been brought to bear in dealing with the myriads of security challenges in the country including those within its purview and those outside its purview. I cant but encourage the leadership of the Nigerian Army not to relent in this arduous task that has stretched it thin.

Also, for the leadership of the Nigerian Police, there ought to be a significant reorganization of its operations to reflect the exigencies of time. This is not the time to play to the gallery, but rather, this is the time to take a cue from the Nigerian Army and be the best they can be. If this is not done, then there would be no moral justification for officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force to continue to draw salaries monthly.

The task of securing Nigeria is not an impossible one. It only requires commitment and sincerity of purpose as exemplified by the conduct of the Nigerian Army. It is naturally expected that the Nigerian Police should take a cue from the Nigerian Army if they are indeed desirous of making meaningful contributions to peace and stability in Nigeria.*Itodo wrote from Lagos

DEFENCE

Police Ban Covering of Vehicles, Motorcycles Registration Number Plates in Benue

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In a bid to curb the escalating security situation, the Police Command in Benue, on Sunday ordered motorists and motorcyclists to stop covering their registration numbers plates.

The order was contained in a statement signed by the State’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Sewuese Anene, in Makurdi.

According to Anene, covering vehicle number plates was an offence and would be met with the appropriate sanctions.

“The practice of covering number plate has become increasingly prevalent in the state, and this is posing a significant security threat to the state, as criminals can take advantage of this practice to perpetuate crime and get away with it.

“Consequently, the Commissioner of police (CP), Benue State Command, Hassan Yabanet, has ordered all Area Commanders, Tactical Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, to impound such vehicles for investigation and prosecution.

“Motorists are hereby advised to ensure that their vehicle registration number plates remain clearly visible at all times while driving within the state, to avoid any inconvenience that may be caused by the enforcement.

“Together, we can contribute to the promotion of public safety and the maintenance of law and order in Benue State.”the PPRO said in the statement. (NAN)

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DEFENCE

Troops Rescue Abducted Kogi Varsity Students, others in Multiple Operations

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The Nigerian Army says its troops have rescued the nine abducted students of the Confluence University of Science and Technology in Osara, Kogi State.

The army, in a post on its official X Handle on Sunday, said the troops in collaboration with other security agencies and local vigilantes carried out a successful search and rescued the victims.

It said the troops encountered the scouts deployed by the kidnappers in the vicinity of the Osara Forests and nearby areas, resulting to a fierce fire fight.

According to the post, the superior fire power of the troops led to the kidnappers abandoning nine of the kidnapped students, who were subsequently rescued.

It said the troops had in a series of successful operations across the country, dealt substantial blows to terrorist groups and rescued several kidnap victims while a notorious militant surrendered.

The post also revealed that troops in the North West also rescued two persons abducted by terrorists in Danzara Village in Kanoma District in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara.

It said the troops demonstrated their rapid response capabilities, when they received a distress call on the abduction of the two locals by violent extremists.

According to the army, the terrorists, who had seized the victims in a red Golf car, were pursued by the troops but flee and abandon the hostages without harm in the cause of the confrontation with troops.

In Katsina State, the post revealed that the proactive efforts of the troops led to the rescue of 17 abducted victims in the Solar General Area of Batsari Local Government Area.

It said the troops engaged the terrorists in a fierce gun battle, compelling them to abandon the kidnap victims, who were later safely returned to the care of Batsari Local Government officials.

“In Borno, a notable incident occurred when Alhaji Wosai, identified as a notorious member of the Boko Haram Terrorists operating within the Garno Village, in Dikwa Local Government Area,  voluntarily surrendered to troops.

“Wosai handed over his AK-47 rifle and a magazine containing two rounds of ammunition.

“These operations, highlight the relentless efforts of the Nigeria Army troops in combating terrorism and underscore their commitment to the safety and security of all citizens.

“Troops’ resolve in addressing the threat posed by terrorists and kidnappers remains unwavering, as they continue to work towards restoring peace and stability in the affected regions,” it said. (NAN)

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DEFENCE

Gombe: Army Assesses Barracks Infrastructure, Restates Commitment to Troops, Veterans’ Welfare

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A team from the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Department of Army Administration, on Wednesday visited the 301 Artillery Regiment (GS) in Gombe, to assess the state of barracks infrastructure in the state.

This is contained in a press statement issued in Gombe by Capt. Mazinho Attah, the Acting Assistant Director Army Public Relations, 301 Artillery Regiment (General Support).

Attah said that the Acting Deputy Chief of Administration (Army) Veterans Affairs Department (VAD), Brig .

Gen Umaru Alkali, led the team to the state.

Attah quoted Alkali to have said that the visit was directed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, and aimed at improving  facilities and enhancing the welfare of veterans and serving personnel.

“The visit is to address current conditions of legions, Nigerian Army cemeteries as well as command schools and hospitals,” he said.

He further highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Army leadership to ensure that troops and family welfare of serving and retired personnel remained top priority of the service.

While receiving the team, the Commander 301 Artillery Regiment, Colonel Musa Ahmed, briefed the team on the current conditions of facilities in Gombe State.

Ahmed noted the significance of completing ongoing projects at the new barracks and making it befitting for the regiment.

He further said that the assessment visit was crucial to boosting the morale of troops as well as impact positively on their living conditions.(NAN)

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