Nigeria’s efforts to rein in raging insurgency in some parts of the country yesterday received a major boost as the United States (U.S.) and India, offered to help.
Speaking via teleconferencing at the U.S. Embassy yesterday in Lagos, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, said that the U.S. has offered to help stem the crisis in Northern Nigeria by building the skills of local security agencies, especially in forensic investigation and how to defend the citizenry from terror attacks.
Carson stated that the solution to the Boko Haram attacks in Northern Nigeria would include addressing the security and socio-economic problems in the area.
His words: “We will continue to monitor the situation and to improve the skills of the security agencies to handle the situation. We think that the solution is security and social economic issue. We are willing to help Nigerian to deal with the issue.”
In a joint paper delivered by Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev and Indian Defence Adviser to Nigeria, Col Rajesh Sethi, at the ongoing Nigerian Air Force Exposition in Kaduna, the duo said India could help Nigeria in revitalising the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria through a Public, Private Partnership (PPP).
As part of the offer, Nigeria and India would cooperate on the fight against terror by sharing specialised training, equipment, strategy and intelligence.
Nigeria would also benefit from India’s experience in security training for serving personnel, local council staff and institutional building and coordination.
In a related development, Commander of the Armoured Corps Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Ebiobowei Awala, has said that the unconventional nature of modern-day conflicts or warfare required that the Army and other combat forces retune their strategies to curb current threats.
Awala stressed that security forces in the country should frequently compare notes and proffer solutions to emerging trends in modern conflicts to meet contemporary challenges.
He spoke yesterday in Jos, Plateau State at on-going “Combat Arms Training Week 2012” with the theme, “Repositioning the Combat Arms Through Training and Equipment to Meet Contemporary Security Challenges.”
His words: “Today’s conflicts present themselves more in street fights of non-pitched battle. Therefore, we must develop ways and means of making training realistic, comprehensive and adaptable.
“In essence, we need to concentrate our energies and time on re-orienting our troops and modifying equipment in order to achieve optimum performance.”
The Kaduna seminar was attended by Minister of Defence, Bello Haliru Mohammed; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar; ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs and other top military officers from Italy, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Brazil.
Nigeria and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defence co-operation in 2007.
But Sachdev made it clear that while his country was ready to help Nigeria develop its Defence Sector, “Nigeria is a sovereign country and it should therefore decide on which direction to go. We have the experience and that experience we are ready to share with Nigeria. But you decide in what areas our experience is relevant to you, and in what areas we can be of help.”
But Sethi stated: “India, with its extensive military training infrastructure and Defence industry, has a lot to share with Nigeria. Our Nigerian brothers can benefit by utilising the training infrastructure, conduct of joint exercises, establishment of doctrinal and tactical training institutes and inter institute collaborations.
“Bilateral defence co-operation can also be exploited by assistance in capacity building from platforms to latest military technologies.”
Mohammed noted that in the search for a greater Nigeria, “it is imperative that we focus on the things that will act as catalyst for greater and stronger nation. The concept of national security has gone beyond the issue of defence and management of violence. It now includes human security, with all its attendant developmental requirement.”