The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen. Kenneth Minimah said yesterday that the military has not been able to quell Boko Haram insurgency because military personnel were not trained to fight unconventional war like Boko Haram.
Minimah spoke at the 9 Brigade, Ikeja Cantonment. He was addressing a troop of 280 soldiers as part of his ongoing familiarisation tour.
He said that while military personnel were trained to fight known enemies from opposing camps, Boko Haram members are enemies within, whose singular mission is to die, not fight.
“Boko Haram terrorists come to die not fight. It is a new warfare which military personnel are not trained in. They carry explosives to blow up anyone around. They load hilux with bombs and run into troops with them.
“It is not a conventional war. You do not see nor know the enemy you are fighting. It is an enemy within war in which case a mother is loyal to the government, child to Boko Haram while the father sits on the fence.
“But we are on top of the situation and God willing, we will defeat them soon,” he said.
Lt Gen. Minimah disclosed that a mass burial has been approved for soldiers who died in the course of operations in the northeast, just as he urged the troops to call and encourage their colleagues fighting the terrorists.
He disclosed that medicare for wounded persons has improved, adding that the materials to be used for the new uniforms and camouflage, which would be ready this year, would be produced in Nigeria to ensure uniformity.
“We are making uniform materials in Nigeria because we no longer want a situation whereby your uniforms will have different colours or people wearing different boots.
“Also, by doing that, we will be creating employment and ensuring efficiency,” he said.
The army chief, who reiterated the need for personnel to respect the rule of law, also directed that seniority especially at the junior leadership cadre must be reignited.
On army personnel who do not dress properly in their full military regalia, Minimah said they shall not be spared when caught.
“Do not smear army’s image. Dress fully in the army uniform. Do not mix military regalia with civilian clothes. There is no hybrid of the two, so that when the need arise, you would be properly identified.
“The soldier in Lagos, which led to the BRT issue, was not properly dressed. I know we have a few bad eggs and we would rid ourselves of them. Try as much as possible to keep off the BRT lanes, if possible, leave your homes early enough. Being a soldier does not put you above the law of the state or federal government.”
Responding to a request by a soldier that children of army personnel should be given automatic entry into the force and not treated at par with those of civilians, Minimah said the army should not be exclusive preserve of children of service personnel.
“We will strive to improve our system. I share in the feeling that our children should be encouraged to come into the force, but there should be equal opportunity with children of civilians who want to serve their fatherland,” he said.