In light of ongoing insecurity such as banditry, terrorism, attacks and kidnappings in various parts of the country, retired senior military officers of the 33rd Regular Course of the Nigerian Defense Academy have urged the Federal Government to initiate modalities to engage the services of ex-servicemen to increase the number of troops available to combat insecurity.
According to the former officers, the nation’s armed forces are currently overstretched, necessitating the immediate return of retired military officers willing and able to aid in the training of younger officers and troops.
Air Commodore Ibrahim Umar, ret., president of the 33rd Regular Course Association, made the request yesterday during the Association’s Annual General Meeting in Kaduna. He urged the government to immediately enlist ex-servicemen to combat banditry, terrorism, and kidnapping.
Air Commodore Umar also asked the recruitment of more officers and men into the armed forces in order to police some of the ungoverned areas in the country and the porous borders of the nation.
He said that the moment has come for the federal government to contemplate constructing walls along the nation’s borders in order to protect the country from external threats and prevent the entry of illegal immigrants.
During the Annual General Meeting of NDA Course 36 regular intakes, Gen Martin Luther Agwai, retd, and Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, retd, threw their weight behind the agitation to recall and re-engage physcially and mentally fit retired officers to join in the fight against security challenges facing the country.
General Agwai believes that retired officers, who were trained at great expense to maintain the nation’s territorial integrity, cannot afford to remain passive while the security situation deteriorates.
“While it is practically impossible to address all forseable security challenges, retirees have a duty to continue to proffer solutions and suggestions towards tackling the security challenges facing the nation.
General Agwai had observed, “This is because the nation has invested a lot of money in making them who they are today,”
Similarly, Admiral Ola Ibrahim stated, “As retired military officers, you are trained to be focussed, disciplined, and decisive. These attributes will be required anytime the nation has a need.
Therefore, you should be prepared to contribute your expertise to the collaborative effort to contain national security threats.
“I urge you all to individually and collectively deploy your wealth of experience for the nation’s good when called upon. You must deploy the knowledge in arms and combat both individually and collectively in the nation’s interest when called upon to do so.”
Recently, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, emphasized that the nation must rely on former military officers to combat instability.
According to the CDS, retired military members can use their expertise living among civilians to give security intelligence that can aid national security initiatives.
He advised the former service members not to view themselves as retired personnel, but as combatants who could still be called upon to serve the nation.
General Irabor stated, “To make a significant impact in ensuring that peace takes pre-eminence in the country, we need to fall back on retired military officers.
General Irabor stated, “To make a significant impact in ensuring that peace takes pre-eminence in the country, we need to fall back on retired military officers. “This is because they also live among the people, thereby having a lot to offer regarding security issues.
“Once a military officer, you remain a military officer for life, whether serving or retired. The motto of the country, which is ‘Unity, Peace and Faith’, is what we swore to defend, and we are committed to it.”
An unnamed security expert told newsmen last night that the current high level of insecurity in the country necessitates not only the recall of retired military personnel, including officers and men, but also the recruitment of additional personnel to adequately address the country’s security challenges.
”Look at it this way. At present, the military is stretched thin, operating in no fewer that 33 of the 36 states in the federation. How do you expecdt them to cope? And the criminals are getting more enboldened.
”So, what do you do in this circumstance? It is to fortify your armed forces with more personnel to effectively deal with the security problems in the country. There no part of the country that is today free of insecurty. Therefore, the time to raise the number is now. I totally agree that government recalls officers and men who have retired and are still strong to defend the country against internal and external aggressions,” the expert said.