RAWALPINDI: Lieutenant General
Onyeabo Azubike Ihejirika, Chief of Army
Staff, Nigerian Army discusses counterterrorism and counterinsurgency matters with General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Pakistan Armed Forces at Joint Staff
30 November 2012,
By Kingsley Omonobi
IN the wake of terrorists attacks on army cantonments in parts of the country, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, has directed that all civilians and non-military personnel residing in all army barracks be flushed out.
His words: “All illegal civilians and those
above 18 years should vacate the barracks immediately in view of the
security situation in the country. Any
Commander that fails to flush out these
persons should be ready to face serious sanction.”
The directive of the Army chief came just
as he disclosed that since assumption of
office, his administration had paid off a
massive debt portfolio of over N2 billion
which he inherited from UBA and Oceanic Banks. He said he could not lay a finger on what previous administrations of the Army did with the money.Ihejirika who was speaking at the closing of the annual COAS Conference in Asaba said on terrorism: “Nigerians should expect more comprehensive action by the military and all the security agencies. Some of the moves the army has initiated include that unit commanders should liaise more, supervise and monitor their personnel more closely than they have done in the past. So 2013 would be decisive.”
He directed that all vehicles used for
internal security operations, be painted
in army colours immediately to forestall
the type of blackmail recently witnessed
from Reuters International news agency,
noting: “The Nigerian Army is dealing with enemies who have no other
business that to plan mayhem,destruction and murder from morning to
He said that within the last two years of
his administration,435 officers’ quarters
and 6,337 soldiers accommodation had
been rehabilitated while by 2013, over
10,000 soldiers and officers’ accommodation would be rehabilitated.
Porosity of Army barracks
On the porous nature of Army barracks like that of Jaji, he said: “Yes, several of our barracks are not fenced but in the last two years, we must have fenced four barracks. But we are talking about maybe 80 barracks that are not fenced.””Doing that will entail a lot of resources, a lot of support which the current budget may not contain. But again whether barracks is fenced or not, it does not serve as excuse for any commander to allow what happened to happen. But one thing I would say is that the lack of fence compounds the challenge.
“Now, every commander must think of ways of ensuring that what happened in Jaji does not happen. What is important
is that you have put in your best in terms
of planning, in terms of security
measures, in terms of intelligence. Even when barracks are fenced, fences could
be climbed, houses could be broken up,
and we are not going to fence cities.
“What it means is that fencing of
barracks would not be the only solution
but it would aid security. A board of
inquiry has been set up by the Nigerian
Army and another one by the Defence
Headquarters. With these two inquiries with various terms of reference, I believe that a number of revelations will come up which will further help us to ensure that such a thing does not come up.
On the vexed issue of intelligence gathering which many Nigerians believe is missing, the Army chief said: “The
Nigerian Army works in collaboration
with other services. We work hour by
hour, and day to day with the SSS. We also receive support from the Nigerian
Intelligence Agency. Apart from that,
there are also certain international
bodies that also relate with us.
“You are also aware of my visit to the
Inspector General of Police. We also
agreed on ways of enhancing intelligence collection and then dissemination. The conference also emphasized the need for national intelligence fusion. What it means is that all the various measures are going to be fast tracked to ensure that intelligence is further enhanced.
“You should know that it is a running
battle because the people you are
fighting are people within the country
who know what measures you are even
taking to checkmate their terrorist
activities. That is why I also drew the attention of commanders on the need for them to, on a continuous basis,devise new tactics in dealing with the problem”.
He warned that henceforth monitoring
committees from the army headquarters
are going to be set up too to monitor the Commanders in the field adding, Make no mistake about it, command
responsibility is one area we will emphasize more next year”.
Asked if this action will lead to purging
the force of unserious people, he said,
“That one is obvious. I have already
informed Commanders and they know.
They should not wait for the Chief of
Army Staff before taking action along the line’.