This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Army Chief - We Must Stamp Out Terrorism

The Nigerian Army yesterday reaffirmed its readiness to remain resolute and undaunted in its resolve to support the Federal Government in defeating the emerging threat of terrorism occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the country.

It also vowed to checkmate the seeming resurgence of kidnapping in the South-east zone, noting that available reports indicate that arm banditry initially checkmated in Aba, Abia State was gradually returning to Enugu, Imo and some parts of Anambra and Abia States.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, who spoke shortly after inaugurating projects, including the newly-constructed administrative blocks, the officers' mess and the parade ground at the 103 Battalion, Awkunanw Barracks in Enugu, however noted that the fight against the activities of Boko Haram was getting positive response.

While calling for cooperation from sister services and all other security agencies to optimise "the synergy of our national fight against the forces of terror," Ihejirika noted that the Nigerian Army would not rest on its oars until terrorism was completely stamped out from the country.

"The efforts we are making are indeed yielding results because for every bomb that goes off, several others have been stopped from going off. We have made a good number of arrests and only last week or two weeks ago, we uncovered bomb factories and recovered lots of sophisticated objects. We equally made some arrests. I want to assure you that we are making tremendous efforts," he said.

On the resurgence of kidnapping in some states of the South-east states, the COAS expressed serious concern over the development, noting however that the army was equally ready to effectively checkmate the new challenge.

"As you are aware, kidnapping was one of the biggest problems we confronted in 2010, at that time it was mainly in Aba, Abia State and as you will recall, the town which was deserted later bounced back to life. It seems a number of these kidnappers have resurfaced in Enugu, Imo, some parts of Anambra and occasionally in Abia. We need to go back to action," he said.

He further disclosed that he has already briefed his men at the 103 Battalion as well as the 82 Division to be ready for the new challenge, assuring that additional vehicles would be made available to the Division to be able to tackle the problem.

He also called for the support of the governors of the states of the South-east, as well local governments and community leaders, insisting that the menace of kidnapping should be a source of worry for every indigene of the South-east zone.

"These kidnappers live within the society. We have to identify most of the people who live in affluence without any visible means of livelihood. They don't go to work, they stay at home when others go out to work, I think by asking vital information, we'll all work together to nip the menace in the bud. It's a serious concern and something must have to be done urgently, by the army and indeed all Nigerians," he said, adding that kidnapping was another form of terrorism that must be collectively stamped out.

Also speaking on the newly-inaugurated cprojects, the COAS said the projects were undertaken as part of the ongoing transformation of the Nigerian Army to meet contemporary challenges, and therefore expressed hope that the officers and soldiers would make judicious use of the facilities with a view to enhancing the overall state of operational readiness of the Battalion.

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