By Odeyemi Oladimeji
The Nigerian Army, no doubt remains one of the strongest in Africa. There are several tales of the force’s exploits both on the foreign mission and on the home soil. It is an Army of disciplined and committed Officers and Men.
Despite the challenges posed by the Boko Haram insurgency and other internal security challenges, their moral is always high and this was made possible by the visionary and dynamic leadership style of Lt. General Tukur Yusufu Buratai , the Chief of Army staff, Nigerian Army, under whose leadership the Army has continued to record tremendous successes both against the insurgents and in the general wellbeing of Officers and Men of the force.
General Buratai, brutal on Boko Haram and Bandits is not only a pacesetter in the history of the Nigeria Army, he is a man with many firsts. It was under his leadership that the Nigerian Army gets its own prestigious University.
In addition to the establishment of this University, the Nigerian Army under General Buratai’s command do not take for granted the training and re-training of its personnel.
They have expanded their in-theatre training for troops in the frontlines to afford them the required capabilities to operate and conduct effective operations. Special attention was also given to providing local and foreign training opportunities for all cadre of officers and soldiers.
The fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East under General Buratai has brought terrorism to the barest minimum.
The Army in conjunction with other security agencies have continued to carry out sustained operations against the Boko Haram Terrorist in line with President Buhari’s focus to eliminate the remnants of the insurgents within the shortest possible time. A mission General Buratai is leading with all vigour.
The nations’ territorial integrity, particularly along our land borders has not been breached unlike what was obtainable before now. The army continually maintained a posture to defend Nigeria’s territorial rights and interests.
General Buratai understands the power of unity and that is why he maintained a robust security relation with the neighboring countries of Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic in the fight against the ISWA which is terrorising all the aforementioned countries. Together they have achieved tremendous success and the Boko Haram days are numbered.
The internal security in the country has also improved drastically from where it used to be before 2015, when General Buratai took over command of the Nigerian Army.
The Army/Civil relationship has also improved tremendously and the civilian population now sees more reasons to support the Army like never before. A situation which has enables the Army to carry out many successful operations with the help of the civilians who volunteers information to them.
The Army has also supported the Federal Government’s efforts at encouraging Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return to their homes. This effort which has helped over 10,000 IDPs returned back to their communities in the North East and other parts of the country was given a boast by General Buratai’s commitment at ensuring that Nigerians are not held captive in their country.
The success recorded by INEC in the 2019 General Elections, is not without the support of the Nigerian Army, who conducted themselves in a more professional and efficient manners ever. The whole nation owns the Nigerian Army a gratitude for this and kudos to General Buratai who commands the Army according to the world best practice.
The Nigerian Army under General Buratai is witnessing a lot of reorganization and redeployment in a bid to improve their overall operational responsiveness and professionalism.
The Chief of Army Staff regularly approved the redeployment of field and operational commanders in order to inject new ideas in the command and control structure in various operations across the country.
The provision of adequate healthcare to personnel and their families has continued to remain one of General Buratai’s priorities.
Many officers, soldiers and their family members have benefited in the Nigerian Army Medical Evacuation both within and outside the Country.
General Buratai Enhanced innovation and partnerships in the defence industry have also encouraged and supported all officers and soldiers who have innovative ideas and competencies.
It has also resumed full collaboration with the Defence Industries Corporation (DICON) for needed parts and small arms and ammunition.
Similarly, the Nigerian Army is partnering with several companies in Nigeria including Innoson Motors, Proforce Limited and Nigeria Machine Tools, among others, towards the production of light and heavy armoured vehicles, critical equipment as well as protective clothing for the troops.
These collaborations have led to the development of the TYB Rover, Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) and the Bionbion Helicopter, among several other equipment.
The Army also engaged some foreign technical companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to help in the repair and refurbishing of some of the heavier and more delicate platforms.
A number of new developments that have taken place includes: The establishment of the Nigerian Army Women Corps (NAWC) to develop female officers and soldiers that can be employed in all operational engagements of the Army.
The Nigerian Army University Biu (NAUB) has commenced its academic programmes. The Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company (NAVMC) was also established to support its strides in vehicle manufacturing.
The Army has also commenced direct training for personnel to acquire sufficient knowledge and communication skills in the three major Nigerian languages to better fit in anywhere they may be deployed.
It is equally worth of note, the establishment of the first ever Cyber Command. The Command which has been effectively tackling the fake news against the Army, the country and secure the cyber domain from hostile elements.
In spite of the Army’s successes, it is faced with challenges and insinuations of human rights abuses.
To this effect the Chief of Army Staff approved the establishment of a Human Rights Desk offices in all Army formations for speedy attention to human rights allegations.
However, the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army could not have achieved these millstones without the unwavering support of their Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari who gave all the needed support to the Nigerian Armed Forces in general and to the Nigerian Army in particular.
Nigerian Army has remained apolitical, professional and responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles and total commitment to the defense of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lt General Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s patriotism and commitment to Nigeria is unparalleled, and as the popular maxim says, the reward for hard work and exemplary leadership skills is more work.
This article was contributed by Com Oladimeji Odeyemi, a security analyst and a counter terrorist expert, who is the Convener of the Coalition of Civil Society Groups against Terrorism in Nigeria.
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