September 25, 2021

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Insecurity: ‘No more excuses from commanders – Army Chief

From Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, says that the Nigerian Army has concluded plans to commence the conduct of special operations in the North Central and North West parts of the country to address ‘the deteriorating security infractions in the regions.’

The COAS warned field commanders overseeing the ongoing counterterrorism effort and other army internal security operations being conducted across the country that he would no longer tolerate excuses from them.

He charged commanders to take the initiative and decisive actions to handle the security challenges in their respective Areas Of Responsibility and stop making excuses.

Gen Yahaya said commanders must glean from his Command Philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of the Nigerian Army units and formations are sustained and improved upon.

The COAS gave the warning at the opening of the Chief Of Army Staff second and third quarterly Conference(COAS), holding in Abuja on Monday.

‘Commanders must seize the initiative and commanders must take initiative, they must take decisive actions to defeat the threats in their respective AORs. I will not again take or accept any excuses. Gentlemen, failure is failure irrespective of the circumstances,’ he said.

The army chief, who used the occasion to announce the commencement of the conduct of a special operation in the North Central and North West regions, said the operations have become necessary to curb the security situation in the regions where attacks on innocents persons are becoming a daily occurrence.

To curb the security crisis in the country, Gen Yahaya said directed that serious attention be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country.

‘I have also directed for the conduct of special operations especially in the North Central and North West regions to address the deteriorating security infractions in the regions,’ he stated.

He said the conference was aimed at brainstorming and interacting on the state of affairs of the Nigerian Army, review its activities for Second and Third Quarters 2021 that are crucial to the stability of our dear country with a view to coming up with new strategies for winning the war against terror and other violent crimes being perpetrated across the country.

While noting the constraints of logistics that is affecting army operations across the country, Gen Yahaya said: ‘I am glad to inform you that efforts are in progress to provide us with combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations. Concerted efforts are also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations In Operation HADIN KAI.

‘I want to assure you that I am determined to rebuild the fighting skills, capacity, confidence, and morale of our troops across the various theatres of operations. Training must also be given due attention that it deserves. In order to achieve this, priorities for the fourth quarter of the year would include training and more training.’

Addressing the officers, the COAS said: ‘In line with the President’s directive and my intent to rebuild the Nigerian Army into a formidable force, I conceived the vision of having “A Professional Nigerian Army Ready to Accomplish Assigned Missions within a Joint Environment in Defence of Nigeria”. Accordingly, it is my belief that my vision would drive my command philosophy which includes Professionalism Readiness, Administration and Cooperation as the cardinal pillars.’

Continuing Gen Yahaya stated: ‘Professionalism is all-encompassing, and it entails returning to the tenets of basic soldiering adhering strictly to the customs, traditions and ethics of our Army as well as upholding regimentation and emplacing transparent sanctions and rewards system. It also involves the need for discipline and good leadership in all our operations. Discipline entails doing the right thing at the right time and place with or without supervision or prompting in tandem with our ethics, customs and traditions including our dress, salutation and haircut among others. Readiness on its own entails improved training, optimal resourcing, innovation and being proactive. I shall ensure that adequate platforms and equipment are procured both locally and from overseas to engender effective performance of our roles as we improve our maintenance systems to ensure operational successes and longevity of our equipment systems. Administration entails engendering the right attitude and frame of mind that are essential for operational effectiveness. I shall therefore ensure good administration of troops is emplaced to improve morale.’

On welfare, the COAS said: ‘We will prioritise the welfare of personnel, promote merit, celebrate gallantry, honour our heroes, and support our families. Cooperation entails ensuring synergy at all levels and cordial working relationship with our sister Services, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to achieve our common tasks in defence of Nigeria.

‘We have commenced building bridges across the Services and agencies through the robust joint interagency and inter-governmental framework to confront our current security challenges. As formation commanders and Principal Staff Officers, your role is critical to the attainment of my vision. As officers and commanders under whose charge are placed men, materiel, and other resources, you are the key drivers of these pillars. “You must therefore note that even if we have all we require, we might not achieve much without you providing effective leadership, good attitude and acting professionally in all our conduct, of operations and other activities. I, therefore, charge you all to immediately key into my vision so that together, we can take the Nigerian Army to greater heights.

‘I want to state that, the Nigerian Army under my watch will remain resolute and continue to chart progressive paths towards tackling the security challenges confronting the country.

‘Hence, I have directed that serious attention be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country. I have also directed the conduct of special operations, especially in the North Central and North West regions to address the deteriorating security infractions in the regions. Commanders must therefore glean from my Command Philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of Nigerian Army units and formations are sustained and improved upon. Commanders must seize the initiative and commanders must take initiative, they must take decisive actions to defeat the threats in their respective AORs. I will not again take or accept any excuses. Gentlemen, failure is failure irrespective of the circumstances.

‘I am aware of logistics constraints affecting operations across the country and I am glad to inform you that efforts are in progress to provide us with combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations. Concerted efforts are also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations In Operation HADIN KAI. I want to assure you that I am determined to rebuild the fighting skills, capacity, confidence, and morale of our troops across the various theatres of operations. Training must also be given due attention that it deserves. In order to achieve this, priorities for the fourth quarter of the year would include training and more training.

‘I will ensure that through functional training, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are equipped with the right attitude, competencies and skills to effectively undertake daring missions In addition to developing special operations forces. This would be closely followed by procurement that ensures appropriate kitting and provision of protective gear, weapons, equipment and platforms. Let me however remind you all that while no effort will be spared in achieving these goals, it is the Command’s responsibility to ensure the sustenance and maintenance of all equipment. We must therefore strive to improve our maintenance culture to prolong the life span of our platforms and equipment.

‘I have serious concerns and am very committed to restoring, developing, and improving the confidence, skills and competencies of individual soldier progressively in his career up to Senior Noncommissioned Officers and Warrant Officers levels. I hereby charge Training and Doctrine Command along with the Department of Army Training, Corps and NA Schools to develop additional Leadership Training Modules, Courses and Curriculum to enhance the career of the individual soldier. The aim is to develop the individual soldier’s competencies to enable conduct his activities more effectively, assert his command and leadership role as Non-Commissioned Officer, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and Warrant Officer. We need similar additional leadership development Modules and Courses for our young officers to enable them grow as competent, effective leaders and commanders. We can explore officers and soldiers’ leadership training modules from other countries even though we should be alert and to domesticate them to best suit our needs, and our environment.’

According to him, ‘sound administration of our troops is essential to operational effectiveness and high morale, hence troops’ welfare and that of their families will also be given paramount attention. Welfare is not only limited to monetary incentives or promotion, but It also includes effective and realistic training which would save the troops’ lives and avert injuries. Welfare includes genuine concerns for the troops well being, care and maintenance of their facilities and amenities, easing their challenges and hardship, sharing in their pains and joys, Interacting with them humanely and with respect in accordance with the Service provisions, Welfare as part of effective training would Include guiding and mentoring of subordinates, appreciating their strength and weaknesses, and being firm and fair to them in all circumstances.

‘At this juncture, let me appreciate all the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army for their unrelenting sacrifice and efforts in ensuring that the Nigerian Army fulfils its constitutional responsibilities, I will continue to demand that you redouble your efforts so that we can decisively deal with our adversaries or any group or person that threaten the peace and stability of our great nation. In so doing, we will achieve our end state of ensuring a peaceful and stable Nigeria. I will also be using this Conference to give very clear directives of what I expect from all of you.’

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