13 January 2016

Nigeria: Army Establishes Two New Divisions in Borno, Niger Delta

Photo: Premium Times
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai (2nd R) with other Officers addressing advancing 118 Task Force Battalion of the Nigerian Army as they move towards Damasak a Border Town linking Borno and Niger Republic.

The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has announced the establishment of the Nigerian Army 8 and 6 Divisions to be located in the northern part of Borno and the South South region respectively.

He however did not disclose the particular state of the South South where the division would be sited.

Mr. Buratai, a lieutenant general, revealed this while delivering a lecture titled "Nigerian Army: Challenges and Future Perspectives" at the National Defence College, Abuja.

He said the establishment of the new divisions was part of a strategic plan by the army to boost military operations against insurgents, particularly in areas around the Lake Chad Basin.

In August 2013, the Nigerian Army established the 7th Infantry Division in Maiduguri to boost the military's counter-insurgency operation in the North-East.

"We have established the 8 Division located in the northern part of Borno, specifically to clear the area of the remaining terrorist elements, while another division, 6 Division, will be established in the South-South," he said.

Mr. Buratai said the divisions would soon become fully operational with logistics and manpower deployments.

Mr. Buratai said the establishment of the new divisions was part of a strategic plan to improve on the Nigerian Army's operational capabilities in the face of emerging threats to national security.

He said the establishment of the additional formations would bring the number of divisions in the Nigerian Army to eight.

"Emerging threats to the security of our nation, which has been aggravated by the proliferation of armed groups, has added to the task of the military in protecting the lives of Nigerians and the integrity of its territory.

"The focus of the Nigerian Army, today, is to find lasting solutions to these contemporary threats posed by the activities of the armed groups and their allies.

"The Nigerian Army therefore remains poised to the extermination of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

"Today, they can no longer hold any territory as it used to be in the past that is why they have resorted to the use of IEDs to hit soft targets," he said.

Mr. Buratai said the army would embark on an ambitious expansion programme to address manpower needs of the force to respond appropriately to contemporary threats to national security.

He said the army planned to increase its personnel strength from its present 100,000 strength force to slightly above 200,000 in the next eight years.

According to him, 12,000 personnel would be recruited in 2016 alone to fill the vacancies created as a result of the new establishments in the army.

He said the army's expansion programme was aimed at boosting its response capacity, stressing that its capabilities to effectively deal with its present challenges were however not in doubt.

Mr. Buratai added that contemporary national security needs and Nigeria's territorial size require more than the army presently had in terms of personnel strength.

He said the siting of the Special Forces Training Centre in Buni Yadi, Yobe, was an indication of the army's determination to end insurgency.

Mr. Buratai identified Nigeria's weak industrial base, the effect of climate change on the environment and Nigeria's porous borders as some of the factors fuelling armed conflict in Nigeria.

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