The army will win the war against insurgency, Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika assured Nigerians yesterday. He said the events of the last two weeks were enough lessons for security agents.
Gen. Ihejirika spoke at the Second Commanding Officers Workshop at the one Mechanised Division of the Army in Kaduna.
Gen. Ihejirika said: “Yes, you have had few cases of soldiers relating with the adversaries. But, as a unit commander worth its onions, you can turn such a soldier into an asset, a veritable asset, you can use such soldiers to track the enemy rather than the enemy having the advantage. This is why as a unit commander you must be alert always, because there are no excuses.”
Apparently referring to the recent attack on military formations in Borno State where some members of the Joint Task Force were killed, the Army chief said “now there is the challenge of counter terrorism and counter insurgency.
“If you go through the books, there are definitions of these two concepts; but one thing that is wrong with most definitions is that terrorism has to do with terror.
“When we are talking about insurgency, you are talking about aggression most likely with the use of fire arms. So, we are training you to fight terror and also insurgency. So, all the traditional methods of fighting aggression will still have to be brought to bear in fighting insurgency. It is only the environment that will modify your style.
“I have not seen much of tactics or even strategy in our actions so far. But I wish to recall what I said sometime when I gave out several principles. The first factor I identified as militating against our effort was lack of mode.
“So, as commanding officers, your first task is to get your officers and soldiers to realise that you are in an operational situation and once you get that right, things will continue to fall in place. Otherwise, if you allow the situation to fall by in an operational area, and unit commanders, officers and others decided to stay in air conditioned houses, how safe will you feel?
“We do not have to learn the hard way, but if as a commanding officer you stroll out in the evening and in the night and look at your environment and look at how safe your troops are and put yourself in the position of the attacker, I am sure you will come up with several ideas of how to deal with the problems. So you must all get into the mode.
“What has happened in the past two weeks and months are enough lesson for everybody. We do not have to go back to the rudiments of knowing that what to do under fire situation is to craw and peel your heels.”
General Officer Commanding One Mechanised Division, Maj. Gen. Garba Wahab, said the workshop is one of the series of strategies by the army headquarters to ensure capacity building of officers and men.
According to him, the challenges facing the country “are real and for the Nigerian Army to raise its level of performance, it requires up grading of its personnel’s knowledge, identify the problems and adopt appropriate policies that will affect the changes required.”