The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, says Veterans of the Nigerian Army have major roles to play toward tackling current security challenges in the country.
Gen.Yahaya, represented by Maj.-Gen. Boniface Sinjen, the Director of Personnel Services, Army Headquarters, Department of Administration (Army),stated this on Tuesday in Jos.
He spoke at the opening of the 2021 Second Quarter Veterans Affairs Seminar/Workshop.
According to him, the veterans have the potentials to support the Nigerian army in combating all forms of insecurity in the country.
He explained that the workshop, with the theme: ” The Role of Nigerian Army Veterans in the Nigeria’s National Security Architecture”, would afford the army the opportunity to tap from the avalanche of experience of the retired personnel.
“The importance of this seminar/workshop cannot be overemphasised bearing in mind the special roles our retired/discharged colleagues play in the society, especially at a time like this when our nation is faced with diverse but surmountable security challenges.
“These challenges include activities of the Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), Farmers/Herdsmen clashes, banditry and kidnapping.
” I am particularly impressed with the selection of the theme for this workshop, which will provide a forum for us to tap into the wealth of experience of our veterans in tackling the issue of insecurity in Nigeria.
“This workshop is also aimed at broadening the knowledge of our veterans on their important roles in Nigerian national security.
“This is in line with my desire to uplift the standard of both serving and retired/discharged personnel while diligently performing our constitutional role of securing the nation.
“This combined effort of all persons, especially those of us in uniform, both serving and retired, in securing our nation is further encapsulated in my Vision for the Nigerian Army, which is to have a ‘Professional Nigerian Army Ready to Accomplish Assigned Missions within a Joint Environment in the Defence of Nigeria’.
“So, I enjoin you all to use this unique opportunity provided by this seminar to dig into your kitbags, bring out those special expertise and experience acquired over the years, have engaging interactions with your colleagues and let us see how we can jointly defend Nigeria, our beloved country,” Yahaya said.
The COAS explained that the Directorate of the Veterans Affairs was recently established at the army headquarters to cater for the needs of the veterans.
He promised to continue to make their welfare a priority and called on them to support the army in its bid to ending insecurity in the country.
“It is in recognition of the important role our veterans played and have continued to play in the defence of our dear nation, and the need to adequately take care of their welfare, that necessitated the establishment of the Veterans Affairs Directorate in Army Headquarters.
“In line with international best practices, the directorate has the mandate to support your well-being and those of your families and to promote recognition and remember your achievements and sacrifices made.
” Knowing that we all hope to join you in retirement one day, after contributing our own quota in active service to our fatherland, it is, therefore, one of my paramount objectives to enhance the lives of our veterans so that you will continue to put in your best to uphold that honourable attestation of loyalty and esprit – de – corps we all appended on commissioning and enlistment respectively,” he said.
In his welcome address, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Rukuba, near Jos, described the event as “unique”.
Ali said the event would enable the army to get feedback from the veterans on their welfare, hence, afford serving officers to prepare adequately for their retirement.
The GOC added that the workshop would also boost the confidence of the veterans and give them a sense of belonging, enhance their capacities and broaden their knowledge in contributing toward national security.
Declaring the workshop open, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau said the event was “apt”, going by the current security challenges in the country.
Represented by Prof. Danladi Atu, the Secretary to the State Government, Lalong thanked the Nigerian army for holding the event in the state.
He said that the workshop would strengthen the capacities of both serving and retired personnel in fortifying the nation’s security architecture.
He said the state and nation, in general, would continue to rely on the Nigerian army to address its current security challenges.