By Lateef Adegbite
More facts have emerged why the Nigerian Army have not been able to crush the Islamic Fundamentalist group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, insurgents in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, and the armed Bandits over the last decade.
This is because the Nigerian army lack the necessary facilities and sophisticated equipment necessary to Combat the rising kidnapping, insurgency and Banditry being witnessed in different parts of the country Hundreds of troops of an unidentified battalion of the Operation Laiya Dole Theatre Command, had protested on Thursday, March 26, 2021, over alleged Non-Payment of their allowances by the Military Authorities, poor supply of arms and ammunitions. They may have been encourage to organise the protest which has become the talks of the residents of Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state because of their redeployment to another Location without functional fighting equipment to engage the insurgents.
Lt. General Ibrahim Atthahiru, who had served as the Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command and now the CoAS, may have shocked Nigerians at the first quarter Conference of the Nigerian Army Operations Retreat, 2021, held at the Army Headquarters Command, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, when he admitted that ‘’ logistics Constraints had remained a major problem of the army operations across the country and not peculiar to the Operation Lafiya Dole.
He had stopped short at saying that the logistics constraint had made it impossible for the troops to deal decisively with the insurgents in the north east and the armed Bandits in the three north western states of Zamfara, home of illegal gold miners, Kaduna and Katsina.
There are indications that the BokoHaram and ISWAP insurgents may have taken advantage of the Army logistics constraints to repeatedly attack and sack military bases in Borno, described as home of the Insurgents and Yobe. The attack and capture of Marte town military base in the Lake Chad area by the ISWAP insurgents but subsequently, recaptured by the Nigerian soldiers, after about three days, last January speaks volume.
The capture of the military base may have been made possible as hundreds of the soldiers from the military base were said to have fled on citing the machine gun wielding ISWAP fighters . The situation was the same in Jakana military base and other military bases that had been attacked and captured in Borno and Yobe states by the ISWAP fighters in the recent time.
The army General, who may have known the difficulties being faced by the soldiers attached to the Operation Lafiya Dole, Theatre Command, was said to have vowed that this will no longer be allowed to continue to avoid playing into the hands of the ISWAP insurgents. This may have informed why he has initiated plans to increase the Troops operational capabilities as he was said to have approved ‘’the purchase of spare parts and directed that all damaged and unserviceable equipment in the theatre Command be back- loaded for immediate repairs. This should serve as a good news to the protesting soldiers of the unidentified battalion of the Theatre Command last Thursday.
The CoAS, who could not hide his feelings was said to have assured the Theatre Command troops that they should expect something different from his Administration .Hear him: I am determined in rebuilding the fighting skills , capacity , confidence and morale of the fighting troops across the various Theatres of Operations’’, in the north east Geo-political region.
He may have gladdened the heart of the fighting soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command when he disclosed that the second and third quarters of 2021, would be devoted ‘’to functional training of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army and ensure that they are well- equipped with the right Competencies and skills to effectively undertake daring missions in different parts of the country.
He was said to have sent a message to the BokoHaram and ISWAP insurgents that it is no longer going to be business as usual where they could easily attack a military base and cart away weapons and gun fitted vehicle to their hide out in the Sambisa forest with the establishment of Special Operations Forces in the region.
The CoAS, who may have seen it all in Borno and other parts of the north east, had said that the establishment of the Special Operation forces , would be closely followed with’’ the procurement of appropriate kitting and provision of protective head gear, weapons, equipment and platform’’.
Perhaps to ensure that the army, under his close watch remain resolute in decisively dealing with the major threats of the BokoHaram and IWAP insurgents as well as the armed Bandits , confronting the country, the CoAS, was said to have directed the Commanders of the various Army Units across the country to ensure that they pay’’ the adequate attention ‘’ to sustaining and improving the tempo of all the Nigerian Army Operations nationwide’’.
He was said to have made it clear to the Army Commanders that they must abide by his philosophy of ‘’ensuring that operational and administrative proficiencies of the Army Formations and Units , across the country are sustained and improved upon to avoid a repeat of what happened last Thursday at the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command base in Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, who had promised of crushing the insurgency in the north east and Banditry in the north west, within six months of assumption of office in 2015, but which had spilled over to his second term in office, in 2019, with the new service Chiefs that will fulfill the promise, was said to have pledged ‘’to continue his support to the Army’’, stating that the government would soon ‘’receive the combat enablers to enhance and boost the army operations’’.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President had said that concerted effort is being made to eliminate the threats of Improvised Explosive devices, IED, that had remained a major impediment to the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command’’ over the years. Good news to the troops to step their morale and fighting spirit to restore the country to normalcy.