A passing out parade was held for Mr. Ihejirika
The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, has blamed Nigeria’s porous borders as one of the reasons for the insurgency in the North-East. The Nigerian military is battling the outlawed Boko Haram in the north eastern part of the country.
Mr. Ihejirika, a Lieutenant General, said this during his Valedictory Speech at a parade in his honour to mark his exit from the Nigerian Army. He was removed as Army Chief by President Goodluck Jonathan in January, during a purge that affected other service chiefs.
“We must realise that the world is passing through an increasingly volatile and uncertain 21st century and our situation in Nigeria had been made complex by regional and transnational threat,” he said.
“This is further accelerated by information technology, desertification, international migration across the borders, and competition for scarce resources, weapon proliferation and several unresolved ethno-religious conflicts.
“In the last few years, we have had to deploy the army extensively at home and abroad along with other services.
“And I am proud to be part of our nation’s quest for a more peaceful world through many interactions using different platforms.”
According to him, the military has tried to strengthen critical partnership both local and international.
The former army chief said that menace of terrorism and insurgency could be resolved quickly if the nation appreciated the sacrifice made by the services irrespective of political and religious affiliation.
“I urge the Army and other service to remain cohesive and loyal to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and President Goodluck Jonathan no matter the distraction.
“This is key to the restoration of peace in volatile areas.
“Let me express my gratitude and deep appreciation to the president for giving me opportunity to serve,” he said.
In his remarks, Governor Theodore Oji of Abia described Mr. Ihejirika as a humble man, a good soldier and a man determined to change things.
He said the former army chief had done very well, adding that the army played a very major role in restoring peace and security to Abia State.
“This is the reason all Abians came to felicitate with him because he showed determination, vigour and extra effort to ensure Abia State was stabilised security wise,” Oji said.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the event, Aliyu Isma’ila, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, described Mr. Ihejirika as ”a visionary leader who was strategically conscious and patriotic”.
Mr. Isma’ila also described him as a professional soldier who did his best for the country and wished him all the best.
The “pulling out” parade coincided with the 58th birthday of the former Chief of Army Staff who was born on February 13, 1956 in Ovim, Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia.
He was commissioned into the Army on December 17, 1977 as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy 18th Regular Combatant Course.
He was appointed the Chief of Army Staff on September 8, 2010 a position he held until January 16, this year.