We’ve made considerable progress in safeguarding Nigeria – Army Chief

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, says the Nigerian Army had made considerable progress in stabilizing the nation’s security in spite of a few obvious challenges.

Lagbaja said this at the opening of the First Quarter Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Conference 2024, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the insecurity that would have developed across the country was better imagined than experienced if not for the concerted efforts of the military.

He said the continuous injection of trained troops and specialist equipment into the North East theatre for specialised operations such as Mountain Sanity II, Lake Sanity II, and Desert Sanity III had continued to complement efforts to degrade ISWAP/JAS terrorist groups by the Theatre Command.

The COAS said that those efforts had greatly improved the security situation in the North East and had expectedly enhanced the trust and confidence of the public towards the troops.

He added that intensified offensives to eliminate bandits and other criminal elements in the North West and North Central regions were also yielding positive outcomes.

“We have continued to project forces in Operations Hadarin Daji, Forest Sanity, and Whirl Punch while ramping up offensives to eliminate bandit enclaves.

“These operations have destroyed criminal hideouts, neutralized scores of bandits, and subjected the remaining ones to situations where they are mainly on the run.

“Relatedly, our troops deployed in the South South and South East regions on Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe and Operation UDO KA have continued to perform creditably.

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“Both operations have undoubtedly led to the neutralisation of a significant number of IPOB/ESN criminals, the recovery of numerous weapons and ammunition, and the destruction of several illegal oil refineries.

“Additionally, our collective efforts in Operations Delta Safe and Udo Ka have substantially increased daily crude exploration output with a corresponding boost to Nigeria’s foreign reserve and other economic indices,” he said.

Lagbaja said the army had remained unrelenting in its efforts to improve its training activities and attune them to the current realities and global best practices.

According to him, special initiatives were implemented in the first quarter of the year to enhance troop readiness through mission-focused training.

He said that training exercises like Shining Star V, Fast Bolt II, and Restore Hope VI, tailored to equip troops with the requisite knowledge and skills to address prevailing security challenges, were undertaken successfully.

The COAS said the Nigerian army had also remained committed to remaining a viable diplomatic tool for the government through consistent and effective contributions to national, regional, and global security, in spite of its internal obligations.

He said the Nigerian army had maintained a small but significant presence in ECOWAS, AU, and UN-led interventions around the world as contingents and staff officers, military observers, and mission experts.

This effort, according to him, is geared towards upholding our commitment to maintaining global peace and security, particularly within the African Continent among other peace support operations.

In the area of Civil-Military Cooperation, Lagbaja said the Nigerian army had intensified efforts to win the hearts and minds of law-abiding citizens through the conduct of numerous CIMIC activities across the country.

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He said the efforts were aimed to improve the living conditions of the populace, win their trust and confidence in the Nigerian army, and further complement governments’ efforts at various levels.

According to him, army hope to build lasting partnerships and promote peace and prosperity across our host communities and the communities of some of our carefully selected senior officers.

The COAS said the conference would provide a platform for regular consultations with field commanders for a comprehensive review of our activities in each quarter of the year.

He said the conference would also afford them the opportunity to assess their readiness and formulate strategies to enhance their collective performance in fulfilling their constitutional obligations as the year progresses.

He urged officers and soldiers not to allow the incident at Okuoma community in Delta where 17 officers and soldiers were killed, to dwindle their morale but instead, remain steadfast and unwavering as military men.

“As leaders of our Army, we must create that awareness across the force that the season we are in is more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous than before.

“We must, therefore, continue to be adaptive, ingenious, innovative, and ready to take up more non-traditional military responsibilities if we must help our dear country survive the time we are in,” he added.

Earlier, The Chief of Policy and Plans (Army), Maj.-Gen. Abdulsalami Ibrahim, said that several events had unfolded since the annual conference that was held in December 2023, hence the need to address those issues while ensuring effective implementation of the decisions taken at that conference.

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Ibrahim said that majority of the decisions taken at the last conference were executed while others are in various stages of implementation.

He said their discussions, imputes and contributions during the conference would help them to consolidate on thier successes towards charting a progressive course in reshaping the future of the army.

According to him, this conference is designed to provide them with a platform to reflect on their noble achievements while appraising their operations and activities in the first quarter of this year in order to elicit plans that align with our primary goal in furtherance of national security.

“It will also provide us a unique opportunity to engage in honest discussions, insightful conversations, and decisions that will guarantee more successes in our operations and other engagements,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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