Ex-COAS, Minimah asks govt to build capacity for soldiers
THE immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah (retired) has asked the Federal Government to recruit, arm and build capacity of soldiers to prepare them for current and future security challenges, adding that the reinforcement of strict disciplinary measures and sanctions on erring soldiers would restore dignity and self confidence in the troops to confront Boko Haram.
Minimah also urged the media to report more on the successes recorded by the armed forces in their operations, rather than the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
The former military leader made this known yesterday in Abuja at the pulling out parade organised to mark his final exit from the Nigerian Army.
He added that, “for long our nation has toyed with the health and vitality of its military, government must provide the necessary resources and right political environment to recruit, train, equip, kit and remunerate our servicemen.” Minimah said at the time he was appointed to head the Army, most of the soldiers did not have the zeal to confront the insurgents coupled with “the decay in the service due to long years of neglect.”
It was a daunting challenge that needed urgent solution. “I, therefore, prioritize efforts towards enhancing our overall operational readiness through the three pillars of improved training, modernization of equipment and enhancement of troops welfare.
Above all, I inspired and rekindled fighting spirit in troops backed by military sanctions. “Fighting spirit imbue him with confidence to stand up to the adversary rather than flee like we witnessed in the recent past.
While adequate attention to his welfare demonstrates his nation’s commitment to his wellbeing and motivates him to sacrifice everything including his life, discipline and sanctions confines him within the military law. “I am happy the story is much different today, the ability of the Boko Haram terrorists to confront our security forces in open combat is virtually non-existent.
Its leadership is in hiding, afraid for their lives and no longer intimidating the public with their propaganda videos,” he said. The retired infantry general said as terrorism is rapidly expanding the world over, the collective action of the general populace, the citizenry in fighting the scourge is required.
Because if we had all stood against the terrorists at the onset through public condemnation of their activities and active collaboration with the military to confront them, rather than use it as a tool to advance sectional, tribal, religious and political interests, we would not have been where we are today.
Boko Haram may have its greatest impact in Nigeria but its ability to hurt other nations’ interest no matter the distance is real, we have seen the extent to which people who harbor evil against their fellow humans can go to inflict pain and death on innocent people.
This is the time for all to rise in unison to not only condemn but take action against the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal elements in order to foster peace and security in our society,” he said.
While thanking the media for rewarding partnership, the former COAS said even though the relationship with the media has not always been rosy, basically because of the sensitivity of the operations and security considerations, it would be better if the media concentrate more on giving publicity to the activities of the security forces and invite “the media to be an all-weather ally of the armed forces.”
I would implore them to always exercise caution and restraint when reporting on national issues; not to promote the activities of the terrorists over those of the security forces or join some foreign adversarial media to castigate or malign our troops who sacrificed their lives to bring peace, stability, security and development to our nation,” Minimah said.
As he re-echoed the troops slogan of “Never again, Never again should we allow ourselves to walk this path, Never again”, Minimah noted that, “a nation is as strong as its armed forces, and the strength of the armed forces is in the quality of the individual soldiers and his fighting spirit.”