The Nigerian Army celebrates 150 years of its existence.
The Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, in Abuja on Sunday said that the military is winning the war on terrorism.
Mr. Ihejirika said this at the Inter-Denominational Service held at the All Saints Military Protestant Church, Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, to mark the 2013 Nigerian Army Day Celebration. He said the military had made tremendous achievements, but a lot still needs to be done.
“Winning the war starts from in-house, I am aware of the improved capacity of the units, improved capacity of the officers and men, and this is what gives me the confidence that we will excel. And as for the operation itself, the nature of insurgency is such that you will continue to have occasional setbacks because you are dealing with people who disguise as civilians,” he said.
Mr. Ihejirika said that some soldiers had been ambushed a number of times in the current operation, because most times, the insurgents are disguised as civilians taking the soldiers off guard.
The army chief said attitudinal change was one the most important attribute that had helped to drive his vision to “transform the Nigerian Army into a force able to deal with contemporary challenges.” He said officers and commanders in the field now adopt positive attitude in carrying out their duties and no longer “sit on the fence.”
According to him, a lot of initiatives were coming out of the field, some of these initiatives, include repair of equipment that would be on display on July 6, 2013.
“There are some officers and commanders we have lost out of dexterity and zeal to their jobs; my heart goes to those officers and their families,” he said.
The Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, said the event calls for celebration as the army and the entire armed forces had come a long way to see to the unity and peace of the country.
Mrs. Obada also said the armed forces had been instrumental to the oneness of the country, noting that in spite of the security challenges, “we have course to celebrate and be happy.”
“The Army is doing its very best as our officers and men are among the very best in the world. There is no doubt about it because they are well-trained and they are on top of their work and their contribution to international peace-keeping under the UN was commendable,” she said.
The minister said the contribution of the army in the internal security challenges was “highly” commendable.
In his sermon, the Director, Nigerian Army Chaplaincy, Charles Iroegbu, said it was good to take some time to reflect on our failures and setbacks. Mr. Iroegbu, a colonel, said it was time to repent from those failures and to resolve to live a better life and put them into practice.
“Humility is given free of charge and anything given freely, there is a corresponding responsibility. If God had given us what we do not merit, it is expected that we should use whatever given to us to achieve a better Nigeria and a better army and a better armed forces,” he said.
The inter-denominational service marked the 150 years of the Nigerian Army.