Drug abuse threatens counter terrorism operations – Buratai
The Nigerian Army has lamented the negative effect of drug and substance abuses on its operations across the country, warning that personnel caught in the unwholesome act will be dealt with according to extant laws.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General, Tukur Buratai, who raised the concern in Abuja, at the combined 2nd and 3rd quarters conference, also warned personnel against partisanship, especially as the 2019 general elections draw near.
Buratai said: “The issue of drugs and other substance abuse is an area that could pose serious threat to the operational capabilities and effectiveness of the Nigerian Army if extra commitment and dedication are not taken towards eliminating it.
“There is the need for commanders to be more proactive in identifying the perpetrators of drugs and substance abuse and applying the right sanction to serve as deterrence to others.
“Furthermore, the NA Medical Corps should reinvigorate its efforts at providing the necessary enlightenment, guidance and counseling particularly to the troops in the operation areas.”
On the 2019 elections and the need for non-partisanship he reiterated that: “As professional soldiers, none of us should be sympathetic to any political, religious or ethnic cause. Any personnel of the Nigerian Army who is interested in politics should voluntarily retire from the NA to pursue his/her political passion.
“Therefore, as political activities unfold towards the 2019 General Elections, GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels are enjoined to continue to remind officers and soldiers under their command to remain non-partisan and be guided by the stipulated code of conduct in the discharge of their duties”, the COAS said.
He further statedt thus: “It is imperative to note that the unity and territorial integrity of Nigeria lies with the military and the NA in particular. Therefore, we must brace up to this onerous task which can only be borne with effort.
“Let me remind all commanders that, as a command responsibility, necessary steps must be taken in all circumstances to prevent any act that is inimical to the corporate existence, unity and stability of the country. I must add that any lapse in this regard would not be condoned.”
In the meantime, the Army has reminded its officers and soldiers of the need to stick to prescribed form of worship in the Force.
Consequently, it disclosed that Special Court Martials have since been established, to try personnel, who engage in occultic, ethnic, political or religious extremism.
“…I wish to remind all on the prohibition of Nigerian Army personnel from any form of worship outside the established barracks worship areas, except those permitted for wedding and some peculiar social functions.
“I want to reiterate that the Special Court Martial to try defaulters is already in place. I enjoin you all to observe the codes of conduct guiding military personnel and thus refrain from any occult, ethnic, political or religious extremism as these would distract us from our enshrined constitutional responsibility as professional soldiers”, Buratai warned.
Speaking on the security challenges besetting the country, and the need to maintain the territorial integrity of the nation, the three-star General stated thus: “I want to reiterate that the NA will remain resolute and steadfast in tackling the security challenges confronting our country. Hence, I have directed that adequate attention must be given to sustain and improve the tempo of all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country to curb any threat decisively. Commanders are to ensure that purpose oriented training are carried out to continuously improve operational and administrative proficiencies of formations and units.
“It is imperative to note that the unity and territorial integrity of Nigeria lies with the military and the NA in particular. Therefore, we must brace up to this onerous task which can only be borne with effort. Let me remind all commanders that, as a command responsibility, necessary steps must be taken in all circumstances to prevent any act that is inimical to the corporate existence, unity and stability of the country. I must add that any lapse in this regard would not be condoned. Therefore, as political activities unfold towards the 2019 General Elections, GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels are enjoined to continue to remind officers and soldiers under their command to remain non-partisan and be guided by the stipulated code of conduct in the discharge of their duties.
“The ongoing operations in different parts of the country to curtail the activities of Boko Haram Terrorists,
farmers-herdsmen clashes, armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and militancy among other crimes have witnessed tremendous achievements.
“I want to emphasize that these successes must be sustained and consolidated. I therefore urge you to bring your ingenuities to bear on your duties. Furthermore, commanders at all levels are to be more actively involved in pursuing the desired goals of the Nigerian Army.”
Also yesterday, the COAS subtly acknowledged the seeming reversal of gains in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram, even as he urged commanders not to lower their guards.
Hear him: “I want to once again implore all commanders to brace up to the challenges that come with leadership.
“Some recent developments in our ongoing operations, particularly Operation Lafiya Dole tends to test our wits in this direction, but we must not relent despite those setbacks. We should remember that the hallmark of a great military leader is to turn setbacks to victories.
“We should all strive to make our impacts felt at this crucial time and not allow the hands of progress to be pulled down. I expect to see effective leadership at all levels of command which must permeate down the ladder.”
The COAS Conference is a platform for the Nigerian Army authorities, to undertake quarterly appraisal of operational performances, with a view to adopting new strategies and approaches for enhanced service delivery.
Stella Enenche, Abuja
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