Our weapons against insecurity — Service chiefs

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Our weapons against insecurity — Service chiefs Service Chiefs By Levinus Nwabughiogu & Gift Chapi Odekina, ABUJA The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said yesterday he will promote creativity within the nation’s Armed Forces. He also said the Armed Forces will make Nigerians the focus of activities to truly put them at the centre of its actions towards promoting and safeguarding a secure environment for all. The CDS equally said his leadership concept would be built on three pillars — being people-centric, prioritising troops’ welfare and deepening jointness and inter-agency collaboration. He said the armed forces would defend the country’s territorial integrity and democracy as well as safeguard internal security and unity to achieve the stability required to guarantee sustainable national development. The CDS stated these when he appeared for screening before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on screening of service chiefs. It will be recalled that the Senate had last week, screened the service chiefs and other security heads appointed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu last month. He said: “I recognize the significance of leading the thousands of devoted and distinguished service men and women to provide a secure and peaceful environment for Nigerian people to freely engage in their legitimate enterprise, in line with the constitutional mandate of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN. “In this regard, the AFN under my leadership will be people-centric by prioritizing and safeguarding our people and their legitimate way of life as prescribed by the Nigerian constitution.’’ On welfare of troops, Musa said troops’ welfare and sound administration will provide the required atmosphere for the AFN to deliver on its constitutional responsibilities. He said the Armed Forces will continue to seek ways and means to improve the welfare of its personnel under his watch. “In this regard, service men and women of the AFN should be reassured of my commitment to their welfare, provision of relevant operational equipment as well as infrastructural development within available resources to enable them succeed in assigned constitutional roles. “I shall also promote international military cooperation/collaboration to further expose and provide capacity building to AFN personnel in joint and combined operations outside the shores of Nigeria. “This measure is required to consolidate on AFN welfare priorities in order to effectively deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt and sustained land, sea and air dominance by the AFN across traditional as well as asymmetric conflict settings as part of a joint force,” he said. Army, mostly misunderstood — Lagbaja Speaking also at the screening, the Chief of Army Staff, Major Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, said the Nigeria Army remains the most misunderstood, complex and challenged component of the Nigeria Armed Forces. According to him, security challenges in the last two decades have made governance more challenging, and that it has disrupted developmental progress in the country. Lagbaja said: “I consider my nomination as a call to higher responsibilities and I am determined not to betray the trust and confidence reposed in me. ‘’It is an open secret that our country has faced a challenging security environment in the past two decades. It has impacted adversely on our socio-economic and political lives. “The episodic crises of the past have now become enduring, thereby making governance and the rule of law more challenging for successive administrations. “Today’s painful reality is that insecurity has distressed our developmental plans and aspirations for a strong, prosperous, globally competitive and influential nation. ‘’Never in recent time is the requirement for proactive, adaptive and inclusive leadership more needed than Nigeria’s security environment of today. “These requirements are what I intend to do as COAS if confirmed. I am mindful that the Nigerian Army, which I am being screened to lead is a crucial component of our military instrument of national power. “It is not only the largest, but the most complex, most geographically spread, most sought after during crisis and often most misunderstood. “I believe that for the Nigerian Army to grapple with the demands of the contemporary security environment, it would consistently transform to be a step ahead of its time. “For this reason, I conceptualize my philosophy of command as to transform the Nigerian Army into a well-trained, equipped and highly motivated force towards achieving our constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment. ‘’I intend to partner with the National Assembly and other stakeholders in achieving this command philosophy.’’ Speaking earlier at the meeting, the chairman of the committee, Babajimi Benson, said for more than sixteen years, Nigeria had witnessed diverse and unprecedented level of insecurity in which the Armed Forces of Nigeria had been fully involved, prompting the launch of several theatres of operations and exercises as well as providing support for tackling several domestic security challenges. “The House of Representatives is delighted with the successes recorded so far, especially in the last one year. We acknowledge these robust achievements which is a proof of the level of professionalism often displayed by our military in the discharge of their duties. ‘Collaboration with sister agencies crucial’ “We urge you to effectively collaborate with sister security agencies to ensure that all security threats are completely neutralised, and Nigerians can live peacefully. “The world of security is dynamic and ever-changing. New security threats are emerging across the globe. Today, wars are not only fought on the land, sea and air, but also in cyberspace. “Consequently, the art of warfare must, therefore, be a step ahead. This is why Nigeria must tap into and harness the potential of having a Defence Space Force, like in the United States of America. ‘’While acknowledging the immense contributions of the Defence Space Administration, DSA, there is a need for a full-fledged Defence Space Force to adequately handle potential threats from cyberspace and provide intelligence support to other services,’’ the lawmaker said. Tasking the nominees on their responsibilities, Benson stated that the role of securing lives and property of Nigerians is a collective task for the Armed Forces. He stated further that the 10th House of Representatives is keenly committed to providing the necessary legislative framework to the current government in its quest to ensure that Nigerians lived in peace. “We must, therefore, work collectively to deliver more on the goals of this administration to drastically reduce cases of insecurity across the country. “While the House will continue to support this vision through our legislative activities, we shall also embark on rigorous oversight exercises, beginning from this screening, to ensure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria adhere strictly to the provisions of all Appropriation Acts as will be eventually passed by the National Assembly and accented to by Mr. President. He, therefore, urged the nominees to cooperate with the National Assembly while performing their constitutional duties of ensuring a peaceful, secure and prosperous country for all Nigerians.

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