The House Committee on Army has urged critics of the military to visit troops in the frontlines to appreciate their efforts at tackling the Boko Haram menace.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Remande Shawulu made the call on Thursday in Maiduguri in an interview with newsmen after the committee visited troops in one of the locations.
Shawulu said such visits by critics would enable them to see the need to proffer sustainable solutions, rather than condemn the military even as they combat the terrorists.
News Agency of Nigeria NAN) reports that during the visit, troops demonstrated response to imminent terrorist attacks using artillery weapons and Shilka, an anti-aircraft self-propelled system named after the Shilka River in Russia.
Asked to react to the exercise, Shawulu said: “I think it would have been good to bring many people, especially civil society organisations and the media to the fields – frontlines.
“Let them come and be with the soldiers, let one round be fired, they will know what the soldiers are going through.
“We were at the hospital yesterday (Wednesday), we discovered that acoustic trauma is one of the major problems they have.
“It is very serious, soldiers becoming deaf as result of sound from firing. Imagine somebody, who has to do this – firing, for ten days, what it means.’’
According to him, what the military need is commendation and encouragement, not condemnation.
“I think we all have to put our hands on the deck, we need to agree that for a country facing the type of security challenges that Nigeria has, the level of manning the of the armed forces and security agencies is much, much too low, too low to be comfortable.
“That is what I observe.
“I think we need to commend the men and officers for the work that they are doing. You can see how hot that this place we are is.
“You can see that these guys – troops, it is only God, when I mean it’s only God, it is only the efforts that they are putting into the work they are doing, the passion.
“They need to be commended every time so that they are encouraged to do more than they are doing already.’’
Shawulu said that apart from more personnel, the military required additional equipment to be able to tackle emerging internal security challenges.
He noted that men and officers were being over-stretched as they were at times given roles not directly military.
Citing instances, he said that commanders on operation in some communities had to be engaged in peace-building and dispute resolution.
“That means that they have a lot of work and I think that all of us need to take the security of the country much more seriously than we have been doing.
“We need to increase men, we need to increase resources and I think, for me, most importantly, we need to make sure that government at the local and state levels are functional.
“If they are functional, there are certain basic responsibilities such as conflict resolution at community level that could be done by local government and not by commanders,’’ he stated.
Also speaking in an interview, Maj.-Gen. Benson Akinroluyo, the Theatre Commander, said that the committee was briefed on challenges faced during operations in the North East.
“We told them too that they should find a way of bringing other governmental support and not leaving the military alone to tackle crisis,’’ he said.
Brig.-Gen. Bulama Biu, the Genral Officer Commanding 7 Division, expressed satisfaction with the visit, saying that it enabled the committee to get first hand information on operations and challenges.
Biu also said that it created a forum for interaction and clarification of issues, as well as boost troops’ morale.
NAN reports that while at the Theatre Command on Wednesday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai urged the committee to prevail on politicians to put national interest above political or sectional interests.
Buratai made the plea after he had accused some politicians, who lost in the just concluded general elections of heightening tensions in parts of the country.
During the two-oversight function, the committee visited the military cemetery in Maiduguri, where the three personnel, an officer and two soldiers, who died in an IED explosion on Monday, were buried.
They paid tribute to deceased personnel and others, who paid the supreme sacrifice in the course of duty.
They also visited the 7 Division hospital to empathise with wounded soldiers.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
Robbers attack Nasarawa Deputy Governor’s convoy, kill 3 policemen
Robbers attack Nasarawa Deputy Governor’s convoy, kill 3 policemen
Suspected armed robbers on Tuesday attacked the convoy of Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, killing three policemen and a civilian.
Akabe was on his way to Abuja on an official engagement when the convoy ran into the robbers who were operating few kilometres away from Akwanga at about 6pm.
Samaila however did not give details, saying the commissioner of Police, Bola Longe had led a team of officers to the scene to asssess the situation.
“As I speak with you now, the Commissioner of Police, the Deputy Commissioner Operations and other high ranking officers of the command have gone to the scene of the incident,” Samaila said.
Meanwhile, one of those in the convoy, said the armed robbers opened fire on the convoy before fleeing.
According to him, three policemen and a driver were shot and killed by the armed robbers and their corpses have been deposited at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital Lafia.
The deputy governor who was unhurt but looking shaky, was at the hospital but did not speak to journalists on the incident.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Nigerian Army takes medical outreach to Zamfara village
The Nigerian Army has taken medical outreach to Wantodo Daji community, in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara as part of its civil military relations activities.
The medical outreach is part of the activities to mark the 2019 Combat Service Support Training Week of the Nigerian Army, holding in Gusau.
The outreach, which was organised by the Nigerian Army Medical Corps, includes the provision of free medical treatment for different cases, free drugs, eye glasses, wheel chairs and other medical needs for the people.
The event was graced by the Governor, Mr Bello Matawalle, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and top army officers and state government functionaries.
Adama said that the activity was part of the activities to enhance civil military cooperation, between the army and the civilians, in their areas of operations.
He said, “ at a time like this, we want to give back to the society, especially to our host communities, because improving this will help us to collaborate in what we are doing.
“The community we are in today has once been involved in the recent happenings and it is not out of place that we are here.
“For the activities today, we are offering free medical services, free drugs, free eye screening service, with reading glasses.
“We have also brought mosquito nets, we are doing laboratory tests and we are also giving our physically challenged persons wheelchairs as well as dental services.
“We want to thank the Chief of Army Staff for giving us the wherewithal to do what we are doing,’’ he said.
Matawalle, while presenting the wheelchairs to the beneficiaries, commended the army for the gesture and urged the beneficiaries to use them well.
Some of the beneficiaries who expressed their happiness in Hausa language, commended the army for the gesture.
Osama Abubakar, 15 years old, said he was happy that God had used the army to put a smile on his face and prayed that God should reward the army and Nigeria.
Abubakar said he was not born a cripple but could not disclose how long he had faced the challenge.
Another beneficiary, Sadiya Bala, 22 years, said that she was grateful to God and the army for remembering her, adding that she had been delivered from being a burden henceforth.
More than 1,000 villagers benefited from the medical outreach, some of whom went home with different medical items; such as mosquito nets, eye glasses, wheelchairs and medicines.
Nigeria calls for closer military ties with Bangladesh
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, on Tuesday called for closer military cooperation between Nigeria and Bangladesh.
A statement by Commodore Suleiman Dahun, the Navy’s Director of Information, on Tuesday in Abuja, said Ibas made the call when he received Mr Shameem Ahsan, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Nigeria in Abuja.
Ibas said that Nigeria valued its relationship with friendly countries like Bangladesh, noting that many Nigerian officers have trained in that country.
He informed Ahsan of the establishment of aNaval War College in Nigeria and the proposed International Maritime Conference to be hosted by the Nigerian Navy in 2020.
The naval chief therefore invited Bangladesh to consider sending their officers to the College, urging the Bangladeshi CNS to attend the Conference.
Ibas stressed the readiness of the Nigerian Armed Forces to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh on military cooperation.
The CNS canvassed for more visits and information sharing between the two nations for mutual benefits.
He also stressed the need for international cooperation through avenues such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium for a common approach to containing maritime threats.
Ahsan noted the giant strides made by Bangladesh in peace keeping operations, agriculture and the garment industry.
He equally acknowledged that Nigeria and Bangladesh had a lot in common in areas of cooperation that was beneficial to the two countries.
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz
Nigerian Army donates books to schools in Zamfara
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday donated 10,000 exercise books to secondary school students in Zamfara as part of activities marking the army’s 21st Combat Service Support training week.
Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, who made the donation during the opening ceremony in Gusau, said it was part of Army’s gesture to complement the peace process in the state.
He congratulated the state government for the attainment of peace, adding that the army would sustain the effort in the interest of residents of the state.
Gov. Bello Mattawalle of Zamfara, thanked the Nigerian Army for choosing the state to host the event towards improving the state’s security situation.
He said that the state government would continue to support the army and other security agencies to achieve lasting peace in the state.
“The priority of my administration is peace and security because that form the basis for any development,” he said.
The governor also commended the foresight of the Nigerian Army for engaging local industries in providing military logistics and other equipments.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that other activities at the event included exhibition of locally made military wears, medical outreach and paper presentations.
Police arrest 6 vigilantes over alleged killing of suspected kidnappers in Kebbi
The Police in Kebbi State has arrested six vigilante members for allegedly killing suspected kidnappers.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Danjuma, disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi.
Danjuma said vigilante groups from Kanji village, Mahuta district, Fakai Local Government Area of the state, arrested two men – Muhammad Dankarami and Muhammadu Buda of Maidangwami village, alleged to be kidnappers.
He said the alleged suspects were not given opportunity to explain themselves but were killed by the vigilantes and their bodies subsequently set ablaze.
According to him, the suspected vigilantes were arrested and had owned up to the alleged crime.
Danjuma said: “You will agree with me it is an-extra judicial killing and inhuman on the part of the suspects. Such an act is condemnable and can’t be tolerated in the country.”
He however appealed to the members of the public to see fighting crime as a collective responsibility, adding “we should continue to partner to maintain our status as the safest state in Nigeria”.