The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, has said the Nigerian Army is getting new equipment that will enable it to fight terrorism and combat the Boko Haram insurgency in the country. The COAS insisted that the military was making progress in its counter-terrorism campaigns, adding that Nigerians must be patient with the service. Minimah said this while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on Monday shortly after declaring open the Chief of Army Staff, Third Quarter Conference 2014, comprising Commanders of Army Formations, Department and Units.
“Yes, we have equipment, and the Federal Government is also introducing fresh and newer equipment to us, which will soon be home. “The Nigerian Army is performing and I also know the expectations of the Nigerian citizens, the expectations are rather too hasty; we need some time, we need patience, we are fighting terrorism, we are not fighting a conventional war,” he stated.
The COAS said the Army was aware that some soldiers were deserting at the war front, but noted that, “Desertion is part of warfare. We must accept that since the Carthaginian wars, soldiers have deserted from battle field.” He explained that the Army had commenced recruitment of new hands, saying many individuals, who wanted their wards to join the service, had been reaching out to the Army.
Minimah also said,
“We are doing our recruitment now, we are also receiving persuasions from people who want their wards enlisted in the Army. “Now, if we don’t have a thorough recruitment, mind you, there is high level of unemployment on the ground, most people want jobs, if that job means joining the Army, fine; it’s a source of employment, but when the reality of military service comes, he drops his rifle and runs away.”
Referring to the recent reported mutiny in Maiduguri and the controversial burning of BRT buses and destruction of property in Lagos by soldiers, Minimah charged commanders to put all measures in place to check acts of indiscipline, misconduct and unprofessional conduct by troops under their commands. He stated that he had put in place measures to enhance the capabilities of troops through improved training, equipment repairs and attention to their welfare and motivation.