By Adetokunbo FAKEYE
Nigeria President Bola Tinubu on Friday in Kaduna said Nigeria and the neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad region must display courage in reforming their military doctrine and practices.
The President, who stated this while speaking at the graduation ceremony of Senior Course 45 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, according to his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake noted that the change in tactics had become necessary because the countries in the region are battling a ‘mobile and elusive irregular force’ that disregards established rules of warfare.
Mr President pointed out that the adversaries facing countries in the sub-region are not conventional armies engaging in traditional battlefield warfare.
The Nigerian leader, who encouraged African countries to work together against common threats, acknowledged the multinational efforts of Nigeria, Cameroon, the Niger Republic, and Chad to bring peace to the Lake Chad region.
He reinforced his message that the collaboration should serve as a commendable example to be emulated and improved on wherever necessary.
''We must also be brave enough to reform military doctrine and practice. We do not face a conventional army on the traditional field of battle. No, we contend against mobile, elusive irregular forces that disdain the normal rules of warfare.
''We must adjust accordingly to subdue the menace. This shall require a change in mindset, in strategy, in tactics in equipment and in gear.
The President, as stated by Alake also used the occasion to spell out his National Security Objective, saying it would focus on ensuring security, justice, and democratic prosperity through state power.
While acknowledging the commitment of the immediate-past government in enhancing the combat readiness of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the President pledged to 'pick up the pace', by providing the necessary support to the military.
''As Commander-in-Chief, I have given myself the following charge: to deploy the entire machinery of state power to ensure security of our people and property in a just and democratic society.
''Under my predecessor, the Armed Forces worked tirelessly toward necessary reforms to enhance combat effectiveness and operational capability. We must now pick up the pace", he said.
President Tinubu described the role of the armed forces in combatting Africa's greatest challenge of violence and exploitation as crucial, urging them to defend the continent from geopolitical changes and resource competition.
''We live in a moment of flux. Geopolitical change is afoot. Old alliances and assumptions are being tested as new ones are being shaped. Trade and global economic activity are fast, yet fragile and easily disrupted by war, weather or pandemic.
''Underlying it all is the often unspoken but urgent competition for precious resources. Water, food, gold, oil and other items have all been placed in contest.
''In too many instances, the contest turns violent. Areas that should blossom into economic prosperity and hope become factories of pillage and oppression.
''In Africa, this condition is perhaps our greatest challenge and harshest injustice.
''Your role combating this grave evil is crucial. For we call on you to defend not only our land and resources but our people and their democratic existence.
''Your training was sculpted to fit the imperatives of our times", the President told the 291 graduating officers.
Commending the graduates from Nigeria's Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, as well as students from Asia and sister Africa nations, the President underscored the importance of the college and its contributions to professionalism and defense of national interests.
Addressing the graduating students from Asia and Africa, the President said their presence in Nigeria is a testimony that national security is not solely achieved through muscle and might, but also in building friendships and alliances based on cooperation, justice, good governance and mutual respect.
''Notwithstanding the demands of your training, I hope you have enjoyed our customary Nigerian friendliness as well because Nigeria is one of the most hospitable countries you can find. We have opened our arms like friends and brothers to you.
''To the graduating students from Nigeria’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies, you have warranted the confidence of your respective organizations.
''The knowledge gained here will prove invaluable in our mission to harmonize all aspects of government policy and programs toward the twin goals of national security and national prosperity,'' he said.
The President also commended the College's efforts in curricula improvement and facility upgrade, encouraging the graduates to stand brave and unwavering in their constitutional responsibilities as defenders of the nation.
''I leave you with a charge much like the one I gave myself. Your nation has invested much in your training.
''Much faith has been placed upon your broad shoulders. Our collective safety rests in your hands.
''Your graduation today is a call to greater duty for the nation you love. May you stand brave and unwavering in the discharge of your constitutional responsibilities and may you always do honour to the sterling name of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College," President Tinubu beseeched the graduands.
"At the ceremony, many of the participants who distinguished themselves were awarded various prizes. Squadron Leader S.S Yikawe got both the Chief of Defence Staff Award (Department of Joint Studies) and Chief of Air Staff Award (Department of Air Warfare) prize. Major A.A Bako was awarded for Chief of Army Staff Award (Department of Land Warfare) while
Surg Lt Cdr. K.O Nwagwu got the prize for
Chief of Naval Staff Award (Department of Maritime Warfare).
"Dr. K.O Adams got the prize for the Commandant's Award for Best Non-military Student. Major PJ Nartey from Ghana won the Commandant's Award for Best International Student.
"Present at the colourful occasion were National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, all the Service Chiefs and members of the Diplomatic Corps", Alake stated.