Concerned Professionals’ Congress (CPC) has lauded former Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali (retd) and the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin for their successive roles in bringing about the current onslaught on Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East.
The advocacy group believes that their pivotal roles in seeking improved military equipment laid the proper ground for the recent massive deployment of high-grade military hardware to the North East in the last three weeks such as main battle tanks, armoured guard booths and mine-cleaning vehicles, troop-bearing vehicles, buffalo vehicles procured in 2018 and delivered by the Chinese state-owned defence company, NORINCO.
Others are Typhoon mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPS), Spartan armoured personnel carriers, VT-4 main battle tanks and wheel mobile 105-mm SH5 self-propelled howitzers and ST-1 tank destroyer fitted with ordinance AH-2 155 mm/L52 howitzer compatible with standard 155 mm NATO ammunition.
The advocacy group noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s huge investment in the nation’s defence sector was built on the dogged push by Mansur Dan-Ali and the CDS in the rearmament, training, re-training, welfare and the general repositioning of the armed forces, pointing out that the current military successes in the various battles against insurgency, crime and criminality in the country were the direct gains of Federal Government’s robust interest in the sector.
The CPC’s Chief Media Strategist, Mr Emeka Nwankpa, in a joint statement they issued yesterday in Abuja with the Northern Regional Rapporteur, Kasim Baba Kasim, praised the former Defence minister and the CDS for their conviction and commitment to increased arms procurement for the military, noting that their efforts were the game-changer in the ongoing military offensive against insurgents in the North East.
The Coordinator of the newly-created Defence Media Operations, Maj General John Enenche, recently told defence reporters some top Boko Haram commanders such as Abu Usamah were killed while their armoury and other key structures were massively decimated by the troops.
Mr. Nwankpa maintained that though weapons could never be enough, weaponry remained a strategic factor in the war plans of any military. He expressed satisfaction that the Nigerian Army recently took delivery of new state-of-the-art Chinese-made battle tanks and artillery vehicles to tackle insurgency in the North East and general insecurity in the country.
It will be recalled also that Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun recently told journalists in Lagos that the sophisticated machines were facilitated by the CDS, General Abayomi Olonisakin through the Ministry of Defence and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
‘’You can see how serious the government of Nigeria is making sure that not only is the Army re-equipped as necessary, but to ensure that the insecurity problem we are having all over the country is tackled not only with well-trained personnel but with the required equipment’’, he said.
Also recently, the Army’s Chief of Logistics, Maj. Gen Joel Uniugbe, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, (COAS), Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, commissioned 55 Buffalo 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles and described as a force-multiplier to increase the mobility and combat efficiency of troops against the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East.
The advocacy group praised the commitment and single-mindedness displayed by Mansur Dan-Ali and the CDS to pursue the military’s arms upgrade programme, saying, ‘’ The nation is indeed grateful for the rare commitment and doggedness of these two patriotic officers in pursuing the massive arms upgrade of our Armed Forces towards boosting its current combat efficiency. These new sophisticated platforms in the three services are phenomenal’’, Nwankpa said.
The group added: ‘’They were procured under a new government-to-government policy by the Ministry of Defence directly buys arms from the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to eliminate fraudulent middle-men who hitherto either supplied sub-standard products or compromised quality thereby saving government’s scarce foreign exchange’’.
Mr Nwankpa described the military weapons upgrade programme as the most revolutionary, comprehensive and far-reaching decision ever taken for the military by a Nigerian government after the Shehu Shagari regime of the 1980s.
It will be recalled that before May 29, 2015, when President Muhammadu assumed office, there was widespread apprehension in the country over the prolonged war on terror due to the inability of the administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to purchase arms for desperate troops owing to an alleged international conspiracy.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020