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Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

Chronicles in gallantry

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

Chronicles in gallantry

Nigeria, as a nation, is presently battling to exterminate the malady of insecurity and other developmental challenges posing as existential threats to its corporate existence. There are, indeed, pervasive security challenges in the country, at the moment.


But if the gospel truth must be told, the gruesome attacks by criminal elements such as terrorists, bandits, ritualists, and kidnappers, among others, have always been there.

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles
Chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen Faruk Yahaya


At the risk of being tagged an apologist for the Buhari administration, it is harmless to say that terror groups and criminals had laid a siege on the Nigerian State, long before the historic 2015.


For instance, on 7 September 2010, five people were killed and 721 inmates freed during a jail attack in Bauchi by suspected Boko Haram gunmen. In December 2010, again, a bomb attack outside a military barrack in Abuja killed four civilians.


Then, on May 29, 2011, 15 people were killed in Abuja and Bauchi by bomb explosions during Goodluck Jonathan’s swearing-in as President. On June 16, 2011, at least two people; the perpetrator and a traffic policeman were killed in a failed bombing of Abuja’s police headquarters.

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

We also cannot forget August 26, 2011. That was the day 21 people died in a bomb attack on the United Nations building in Abuja. And then, on November 4, 2011, between 100 and 150 people were killed in a series of coordinated assaults on Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.


Later in December of the same year, 41 people were killed in attacks and shootings on churches, by Boko Haram fighters.


In January 2012, no fewer than 792 people were killed as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency. Then, on 20 January 2012, about 183 people, of whom at least 150 are civilians and 32 are police officers, were also killed in Kano State by terrorist elements.


Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

At a church in Kaduna State, on 8 April 2012, about 38 people were murdered by a bomb explosion.


At a worship program, in a Kogi State Deeper Life Church, 19 people were tragically killed when Boko Haram invaded the religious centre in August 2012.


Four months later, on December 25, 2012, about 27 Christians were also gunned down in Maiduguri and Potiskum by suspected Boko Haram militants.


Then, in January 2014, about 35 Nigerians were killed in a bombing by Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri, Borno State. In February of the same year, no fewer than 121 Christian villagers were killed by Boko Haram militants in Konduga, Borno State.

On April 14, 2014, almost 300 female students of the Government Secondary School Chibok in Borno State were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists. In fact, prior to 2015, about 20 local government areas in Borno State, and some in Adamawa and Yobe States, were Boko Haram caliphates.

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

A doomsday prophecy by an American legislator, which never came to pass, that Nigeria would break up before 2015, was apparently a result of the socio-political chaos in Africa’s Giant.

The issue of Nigeria’s insecurity may be far from being tackled, as persistent killings and other violent crimes have overshadowed some remarkable strides recorded by security agencies.

But the efforts of the Nigerian military, in particular, and since the advent of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, have not gone unnoticed.


The most significant achievement which many know, and even Mr President and Nigerian military detractors cannot deny is the liberation of the entire North East’s local governments, hitherto controlled by insurgents, prior to 2015.

Outstandingly, Nigerian military troops, in February 2018, would then conduct Exercise Ayem Akpatuma covering Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and the Niger States, in order to tackle the cases of kidnappings, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, among others.

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

In the same February 2018, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) inducted its first indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Tsaigumi. The newly-inducted UAV had day and night capability, an operational endurance in excess of 10 hours, a service ceiling of 15,000 feet and a mission radius of 100km, and was capable of being used for policing operations, disaster management, convoy protection, maritime patrol, pipeline, power line monitoring, as well as mapping and border patrol duties.


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), also in February 2018, established a total of 10 new Units as NAF (then) had concluded plans to set up Quick Response Wings (QRWs) across Nasarawa State, in a bid to tackle the herders/farmers clashes plaguing some states within the axis.


Two months later, specifically in April, the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of the second batch of 2 brand new Mi-35N helicopter gunships to boost internal security.


And in May, four years ago, the Nigerian Air Force established 3 new Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Taraba, Nasarawa and Benue States respectively, and also deployed Special Forces personnel to these new bases.


While reeling out some achievements of the Buhari administration and the Nigerian military in the fight against insecurity, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson, in a statement, then said: “President Buhari approved the establishment of a new Battalion of the Nigerian Army, as well as a new Police Area Command, in Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State, as part of measures to scale up the security response to the banditry affecting the area.

Lt-Gen. Farouk Yahaya: Epitome of Professionalism

“Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai, has since flagged off the new Battalion (2 Battalion Forward Operating Base, FOB) in Kanfanin Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State.


“The Defence Headquarters assembled a Special Military Intervention Force comprising more than 1,000 personnel, drawn from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, DSS and NSCDC, to respond to the security challenges in the North Central and North West.


“On May 8, 2018, the Force launched Operation WHIRL STROKE, as a full-scale military operation to completely restore law, order and stability in the affected communities. The Whirl Stroke Operational Force Commander is Major General Adeyemi Yekini.

Chief of Army Staff
Chief of Army Staff

“Chief of Army Staff inducted a mix of 49 Toyota Land Cruisers and Innoson gun trucks, at the HQ of the 133 Special Forces Battalion of the Nigerian Army at Azare, to support the ongoing OPERATION LAST HOLD in Northern Borno.


“NAF launched newly-constructed accommodation for the 205 Combat Search and Rescue Group (CSARG) — established in 2017 to provide aid and operational assistance to wounded and distressed troops serving in combat units — in Kerang, Plateau State.


“The Air Task Force of NAF commenced Operation THUNDER STRIKE to attack selected locations of Boko Haram Terrorists in the North-East.


“The Nigerian Army commissioned its new Forward Operating Base in Epe, Lagos State. President Buhari approved the establishment of Operation WHIRL STROKE II, for deployment in Zamfara and Kaduna States.

“Securing the length and breadth of the country is a continuing commitment. It is one of the key pledges of the Buhari administration, which it is carrying out night and day”.


Verifiable checks have further shown clearly that no administration in Nigeria’s recent history has provided the security agencies with the hardware needed to tackle insecurity as that of President Buhari, in addition to raising the morale of our security men and women.


In the latest effort to enhance our nation’s maritime security, Mr President, last year in Lagos, commissioned an armada of naval boats and ships. The Nigerian Army, and Air Force, have also been receiving modern hardware to strengthen their arsenal.

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles
Buratai with some soldiers in Sambisa forest-

Small wonder, an uncommon, yet celebrated Service Chief like Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, immediate-past Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, COAS, was able to perform brilliantly in leading Nigeria’s counter-insurgency war, between 2015 and 2021.


Gen. Buratai, who hails from Biu Emirate, Borno state, had served the Nigerian Army, meritoriously. He is the longest serving COAS, according to available records. He held sway as Nigerian Army’s generalissimo for about 66 months.


Aside from the feats recorded in the realm of warfare, the Nigerian Army under Buratai also witnessed humongous policy and infrastructural transformation. For example, the Nigerian Army established a university in Biu, Borno state. This is with a view to developing a highly-skilled military and civilian workforce with distinctive competence capable of providing technological solutions to the problems of the Army, the military as an institution and the nation, at large.

Amid Insecurity, Nigerian Military Still Dazzles

The Nigerian Army also established a vehicle manufacturing company for the production of the prototype of both light and heavy infantry vehicles. This is in line with the federal government’s local content policy, where the Army has been working to meet basic requirements in the areas of light weapons, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and infantry equipment to reduce reliance on foreign countries to address its security challenges.


Another feat recorded, which needs to be highlighted, was the establishment of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC). NARC serves as a national ‘Think-Tank’ to further the interest and knowledge in the art, science and literature of the Defence Services. Again, it is saddled with the responsibility of proffering solutions to defence and security issues confronting the Nigerian Army in particular and the nation in general.


Furthermore, the Nigerian Army also established a 200-bed capacity reference hospital in Maiduguri, which is already providing healthcare for soldiers injured in the war against the Boko Haram insurgency. This is aside from the reequipping of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospitals across the country. It thus remains a sheer fact that underBuratai, the Nigerian Army, now professionally responsive, was at its peak and lived up to its sobriquet as the “Pride of the Nation”.


Under Buratai, the Army greatly assumed a pivotal role in internal security operations. There has never been a time in the annals of the Nigerian Army where it was simultaneously involved in over 30 internal security operations across the country. The above listed can only be brought about by courageous leadership. And indeed, these and others were the hallmarks of the Tukur Buratai era in the Nigerian Army.


The media also celebrated Buratai as one Army Chief who carved a niche for himself as a strategist, tactician and goal-getter. Sequel to his leadership of counter-insurgency operations, Buratai had carved a niche for himself as commander of various military operations in the dreadful days of the Niger Delta militants and elsewhere. He also, and credibly too, piloted affairs of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).


Buratai, then as leader of the counter-insurgency operations, was an embodiment of innumerable war strategies and tactics. The nightmare of insurgents was further compounded with Buratai’s launch of the Special Strike Teams. He sometimes, joined his subordinate Commanders to train them personally. The then Army Chief again unleashed the Special Strike Teams in different parts of the Northeast, who were under strict orders to proactively assail insurgents.


Unrelenting, the immediate-past COAS, started expanding military presence in the troubled Northeast region. He established a dozen Army Battalions and Forward Bases to make it easier for troops to respond to distress calls or emergencies in a flash.


And determined to make insurgents uncomfortable and protect the most vulnerable communities, the Army boss expediently established the 8 Division, Nigerian Army at Monguno to make coordination of smaller operational units of the “Operation Lafia Dole” more convenient and effective.


For Gen. Buratai, the zeal to win the war on terror was unwavering; the determination was evergreen, and as for the courage? It was undaunting! And there is no prize for guessing that TY Buratai, truly and indeed, engraved his name on the sands of time as Africa’s most courageous COAS, and prodigious soldier.


Incumbent COAS, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya’s strides as far as tackling insecurity has been awe-inspiring. This may be the reason why troops of the Nigerian Army were recently commended by Sen. Ali Ndume for the successes so far recorded in the fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the country.


Ndume, the Chairman of, the Senate Committee on the Army, gave the commendation when he led members of the Committee on a working visit to Gen. Yahaya, at the Army Headquarters, in Abuja.

While expressing appreciation to the NA for the feat achieved in recent times against security threats and other criminalities, he said the NA under the current leadership has shown commitment and determination to end security challenges bedevilling the country.


Ndume added that the NA has recorded tremendous success in all its operations which according to him has led to total disarray among bandits in North West and North East Nigeria.


A strong believer in training, Gen. Yahaya, has always opined that training is key for soldiers and officers. Therefore, he has continuously ensured that under his command, the army reviews its curriculum in tandem with the existing security challenges.


The COAS is also of the school of thought that discipline and regimentation are pivotal to professionalism in the Nigerian Army, thus his continuous effort to ensure personnel toe that line.

Also, as one who places a premium on the welfare of officers and soldiers, Gen. Yahaya, upon assuming office, embarked on several projects such as the renovation of some barracks and offices, construction of new barracks, upgrade of medical facilities, and even schools.


Summarily, the last year under his command has seen the return of Nigerians in the northeast to their homes, mass surrender of terrorists and reopening of all schools in the geopolitical zone, including the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.


Meanwhile, the military generally has always promptly risen to the occasion of defending the sovereignty of the country. Thus, it deserves nothing, but commendations from teeming Nigerians, for the dedication, sacrifice and professionalism its troops display while discharging their duties, especially in dealing with the rising wave of insecurity which has taken a toll on the nation, for over a decade now.

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