18 August, 2013
by Kingsley Omonobi
* General Ethnan tipped as pioneer GOC
* 8,000 troops to form the NUCLEUS of the new division, deploying into the AOR
President Goodluck Jonathan appears set to boost the strength of the military in the insurgency infested Northeast after indications emerged that about 8,000 troops are being sent there. The troops,according to security sources, will form the nucleus of an army division to be established in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
Sunday Vanguard was made to understand at the weekend that the need to establish the new army division in the stronghold of the Boko Haram Islamist group is to firm up the successes recorded by special forces of the Joint Task Force (JTF) which have reportedly dislodged the insurgents from the forests and mountains of the Northeast.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that the new army division to be domiciled in Maiduguri is tagged 7th Infantry Division and may have one General Etnan as the General Officer Commanding (GOC). The 8,000 troops to be deployed there, according to sources, are made up of
7,000 troops from army headquarters brigade in Yola, Adamawa State, the army headquarters brigade (Monguno) in Maiduguri, the battalion in Yobe and the army headquarters brigade in Sokoto as well as the about 1,000 troops recalled from operations in Mali.
Sunday Vanguard was told that the new army division will take over operations of securing the entire Northeast and seal off the border axis between Nigeria and Niger, Chad and Cameroon where
intelligence has shown that terrorists get their training and launch bombing attacks on Nigeria.
Before the establishment of the division which Sunday Vanguard gathered was on the recommendation of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.General Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika, parts of the Area of
Responsibility (AOR) were under the 1st Infantry Division of the army in Kaduna, which has Major General Garba Wahab as GOC and 3rd Armoured Division in Jos which has Major General Awala as GOC.
Asked about the fate of the Major General Ewansiha-led JTF in Maiduguri, with the establishment of the new division, a source said the JTF will work hand in hand with the new division, adding, however, that it (JTF) is an interim force which most likely will be scaled down after the first phase (6 months) of the state of emergency had achieved its objectives.