CHIEF OF army STAFF, LT.- GEN. KENNETH MINIMAH, INSPECTING A PARADE, DURING A
PARADE IN HIS HONOUR, AT INFANTRY CORPS IN JAJI, KADUNA, ON FRIDAY (21/3/14).
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, on Monday said the Nigerian Army and other security agencies cannot afford to lose the war against insurgency and terrorism in the country.
Speaking in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the three-day Chief of Army Staff’s Third Quarter Conference, Minimah pleaded for support and understanding of members of the public in the fight against terrorism.
He acknowledged that the citizenry expected a quick end to the war against terrorism, but stated that the challenges posed by the insurgent groups were enormous yet surmountable with time.
Minimah said: “Our nation is today faced with enormous security challenges. The upsurge in incidents of terrorism has shifted the focus of the general public to the Armed Forces, particularly the Nigerian Army.
“Our activities are increasingly coming under public scrutiny. While a lot of patriotic Nigerians have continued to support the Nigerian Army, others have used the opportunity to cast aspersions on our competence, integrity, and ability to rise to the occasion.
“The Nigerian Army is performing and I also know the expectation of the Nigerian citizens; the expectation is rather in haste. We need some time, we need patience.
“We are fighting terrorism, we are not fighting a conventional war. The Nigerian Army is a conventional army, we are also fighting terrorism. The terrorist is someone you don’t know; maybe someone who sold food to you or fruits to you in the morning, by afternoon, he is a terrorist.
“We are having all that interplay in the battle fronts in the Northeast. We have to be cautious to separate the terrorists from the law abiding citizens. We also have the human rights to protect because you just don’t go out and start killing people and say they are terrorists. Some of them are also innocent Nigerians.
“We are bound by all the international treaties of human rights. Therefore, we need time. I know the expectation of the Nigerian citizen is that this thing should have been over by yesterday but the reality is that it couldn’t have been over by yesterday, because of the structure and dynamics of fighting this type of terrorism.
“We are fighting Nigerian citizens; we are not fighting foreigners so caution must be excersiced. But I appeal that we will certainly surmount it, but we also need that support from the nation and from all the segments of societies of the nation, and from the people including the media”, the Army Chief said.
On the allegation that the military is not well equipped to fight the insurgency, the COAS disclosed that the military is not only well equipped but getting more equipment on regular basis.
“Yes we have equipment, and the federal government is also introducing fresh and newer equipment to us, which in a few time will be home”.
Confirming media reports that some soldiers were deserting the war front, he said, “Desertion is part of warfare; we must accept that, since the time immemorial, soldiers have deserted from battle field, now in our own case, we are doing requirement now, we are also receiving persuasions from across, of people who wants their wards their interest to be enlisted in the army.
“Now if we don’t have a through recruitment, mind you there is high level of unemployment on ground, most people want jobs, if that job means joining the army fine, it’s a source of employment, but when the reality of military service comes he drops his riffle and runs away. So desertions will continue to be there, we had desertions in ECOMOG, the Nigerian civil and now, it will continue to be there”.
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