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Conventional military tactics cannot contain terrorism-COAS

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The chief of Army staff Lt. Gen.Azubuike Ihejirika has said that the military must change it tactics and approaches to current security challenges to bring it to an end."If the on-going war declared against the terrorism and other insecurity challenges would

end on time in favour of the country, the Nigeria Army has to change from the traditional ways of doing things to modern system with a view to embrace pro-active approach.

This assertion was made yesterday in Abuja by the Chief of Army Staff himself, Lt. General O Azubike Ihejirika while commissioning of the Nigerian Army Transformation and Innovation Centre, Abuja.

The Army chief noted the failure of the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to meet the contemporary security challenges occasioned by the terrorism being orchestrated by the Boko Haram sect in the country. To him, unless the approach is changed the menace would remain for a long time.

To him, the TRADOC located in Minna has been using the same approach for the past 20-25 years to do   a deliberate review of Nigerian Army practice but in line with transformation, they are slightly traditional slow and sometime sluggish in their approach to issues. 'So, we want a unit that would think out of the box as you are aware, Nigerian Army, and like every other Army, highly regimented and believed so much in tradition. This sort of attitude is no longer cope with the way security issues emerge.

'For example, few years back, only the Nigerian Army, Police and the other security services had the monopoly of wireless communication. But that situation has changed. Today also, there so much of proliferation of arms that certain misguided citizens are able to acquire heavy machine guns, AK47 is like walking sticks in some places.'

Speaking further, the COAS stated it clear that one of the reasons why the think-tank is locatec far away from the Army Headquarters is to make members free from administrative bottleneck and to be free to debate every burning issue profoundly in a way that will bring out the desired result. He argued that following the old tradition would not help the Army to live to the expectation of the people.

'…We also need a transformation, we need to change, and we need to prime your ideas. So this place being a think-tank, is a place where no standard is acceptable. Every standard has to be tested in the field, heavy debate must evolve, so we are no longer caged we are no longer stick to tradition in a way that will jeopardize national security. so as you noticed, so much changes keep coming up.'

On the essence of the centre, he said, 'It is really indeed heartwarming to note the few strides being made by the Nigerian Army particularly in the efforts to transform the Nigerian Army to meet contemporary challenges. The transformation effort is all encompassing for the soldiers, the emphasis has been to make them more agile, more confident, to make them more accurate in shooting and to make them to operate in a manner that should be considered professional.

'For the officers, the issue has been to timely assess situations as they evolve and to proffer solution. This particular centre is detached from the Army headquarters, so that officers here would dispassionately look at what the Army is doing and ask questions and debate freely whether our tactics and strategies are correct. and by the time they make their presentations as they have done few times we go into further debate and evolve new tactics and strategies, then policies are made and are dispatched to various formations at lower levels. Then the Army standard and valuation would now move out to the formations to find out the level of compliance.'

In his welcome address, the Chief of Army Transformation and Innovation, Major General Ibrahim Sani,   he said 'the center is a new place and our work is to look at the security challenges so that we would be able to transform the Nigerian Army to cope with those challenges. We are doing that with the national transformation agenda. We are reviewing our competence so that we can key in into the national transformation agenda.'

According to him, 'The Nigerian Army transformation will seek to keep pace with global military advancements and addressing the day to day operational challenges in the Nigerian Army. Those challenges are borne out of an ever changing environment. To overcome these contemporary challenges, the centre is to conduct analysis of new approaches through a competition of ideas and explore options of reducing operational risk; increased efficiency and improvement of operational effectiveness.'