The Nigerian military is acquiring new equipment and undergoing more training to face Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the country, the Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah said yesterday.
Minimah, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), promised that the military would put an end to terrorism in Nigeria, and canvassed collective support for the fight.
He spoke at the inter-denominational church service held at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church, Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja.
The service which was to mark the 2014 Nigerian Army Day celebration (NADCEL), had the “Combating Current National Security Challenges through Collective Effort.’’
“We are going through troubled times, but they will soon come to an end, and we shall be glad at the end. I promise you it will come to an end and we will be victorious, Mr. Minima, a Lieutenant General, said.
“The war against terrorism is a collective effort of all Nigerians and I appeal to all Nigerians to join hands in fighting this new war of terrorism,” he said.
The army chief thanked Nigerians for their perseverance despite a deadly spell of terror by extremist group, Boko Haram.
“I also appeal to them (Nigerians) that terrorism is a new warfare. It requires time and patience for us to defeat it,” he said.
“I am very much optimistic that we will deliver. We will win the war.
“What we have in the North-east will certainly come to an end soon.
“Our job is to continue to protect and preserve the unity of this country and making it stable for prosperity.
“Our job is also to uphold our constitutional role, which is to defend the country’s territorial integrity from insurgency and external aggression, and provide aid to civil authority. That, we will continue to do,’’ the army chief said.
Using the Niger-Delta, Abia and Benue States as examples, Minimah said peace had returned to these places and everywhere there were peaceful.
He said the army would prevail over insurgents as it used to be in the past, saying they would win the war against terrorism.
Minimah said the army was acquiring new equipment, training its personnel and providing welfare for the troops, all in a bid to end terrorism.
He, however, said the army decided to have a low-key celebration for NADCEL 2014 because of the current security challenges facing the country.
“A man does not celebrate his birthday if he is bereaved. He has to just mark his birthday.
“I want to salute the gallantry of our troops, who have paid the supreme price in the course of defending their fatherland.
“These officers and soldiers had died in their duty posts and we will not forget them.’’
In his sermon, Rev. Dawuk Danfulani, the Director, Army Chaplain (Protestant), said Nigerians must unite to faithfully seek God’s support if they were to end terrorism.
Danfulani urged all Nigerians to collectively condemn and expose evil deeds in the society, even if the person perpetrating it was a close relation.
“If a person is pulling down the system that is supposed to stand, you have the right to expose him or her.
“If we condemn collectively and expose evil-doers, they will be afraid to do evil.’’
Taking his text from the second book of Corinthians, chapter 2 verse 11, Danfulani said Nigerians should not be ignorant as children of God.
“So, we should unite and fight these perpetrators of evil.
“As Nigerians, as Christians and as members of the Armed Forces, since we have known the source of our problem, we should unite spiritually to fight the enemy.
“We must patriotically defend what God has given us, and God will ask us and punish us if we fail to defend it,’’ he said.
The prayers were offered for the country, President Goodluck Jonathan, the armed forces and deceased military officers and men.
The Nigerian Army, which celebrated its 151 years of existence, was established in 1863.
However, the name Nigerian Army was first used 100 years later when Nigeria became a republic in 1963.