Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika, said, yesterday, that efforts of the Federal Government in fighting terrorism and other security challenges, particularly the menace of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in northern parts of the country, had so far paid off.
He said this against the backdrop of feelings in some quarters that the nation’s security agents were not doing enough to tackle the security challenges confronting the country.
The COAS noted that the kidnappers that shut down the commercial city of Aba, Abia State, in 2010 appeared to have shifted base to Enugu and Imo states.
Speaking with reporters after commissioning some completed projects at the 103 Battalion, Awkunanaw Barracks, Enugu, Lt. General Ihejirika said the efforts to ensure peace in the troubled parts of the country were indeed yielding positive results.
He said: “When you consider the fact that for every bomb that goes off; several others have been stopped from going off. Arrests have also been made. Only this week, and the week before, bomb batches were uncovered; in some instances, the perpetrators were killed; in some other instance, others were arrested. So I think we are making tremendous progress.”
On how the army was tackling the menace of kidnapping which has gradually resurfaced in the South East geo-political zone of the country, especially in Enugu State where, it was reported, the Vice Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, was kidnapped yesterday morning, General Ihejirika said he would give more support to the Army in the zone.
He noted that he had just had a meeting with the Commanding Officer of 103 Battalion, which is a fighting unit of the 82 Division of Nigerian Army, Enugu.
“As you are aware, kidnapping was one of the biggest problems we confronted in 2010. At that time, it was restricted to Aba, Abia State. And as you will recall, Aba that was completely closed down, later bounced back to life.
“It would seem as if a number of these kidnappers have resurfaced in Enugu, Imo and Anambra, and occasionally in Abia. So that means we still have to go back to the drawing board; a lot needs to be done. I have just discussed with the CO (Commanding Officer) on certain measures he has to take in tackling the problem.
“Part of the things I intend to do is to give him additional vehicles for patrol. And then I want efforts in this regard to be complemented by the state Governor of Enugu state and all the local government and community leaders because these kidnappers are people living within the society,” the COAS said.
According to him, “If people will identify those who are living in affluence without any visible means ; they don’t go to work when others are going; you don’t know any business they are doing; I think that by passing vital information , we will all work together to nip the menace in the bud.
“Is a serious concern to not just the army, it should be of serious concern to every person who calls himself an indigene of this state because with kidnapping going on, it will scare investors and it will instill fear into the citizens; kidnapping is another form of terrorism.
“We must remain resolute and undaunted in our resolve to support the federal government in defeating the emerging threat of terrorism in the country,” he further emphasized.
The Chief of Army Staff said that the projects he commissioned were part of the ongoing transformation of the Nigerian Army to meet contemporary challenges, stressing that officers and soldiers of the unit will judiciously use and employ the facilities towards enhancing the overall state of operational readiness of the battalion.