Against the backdrop of continuing banditry/terrorist attacks and kidnapping in several parts of the country, retired senior military officers of the 33rd Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy have called on the Federal Government to initiate modalities to engage the services of ex-servicemen to bolster the number of troops available to fight insecurity.
According to the retired officers, “the nation’s armed forces is currently overstretched, hence the urgent need to bring back retired military officers who are willing and capable to assist in the training of younger officers and men.
President of the 33rd Regular Course Association, Air Commodore Ibrahim Umar, retd, who made the call during the Annual General Meeting of the Association in Kaduna yesterday, urged the government to, without delay, engage ex-servicemen to overcome banditry, terrorism, and kidnapping.
Air Commodore Umar also demanded the recruitment of more officers and men into the armed forces in order to police some of the ungoverned spaces in the country and around the nation’s porous borders.
He added that the time had come for the Federal Government to consider erecting walls around the nation’s borders to safeguard the country from external aggression and checkmate illegal immigrants into the country.
Recall that two former Chiefs of Defence Staff, Gen Martin Luther Agwai, retd, and Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, retd, had during the Annual General Meeting of NDA Course 36 regular intakes, thrown their weight behind the agitation to recall and re-engage physically and mentally fit retired officers to join in the fight against security challenges confronting the country.
According to General Agwai, retired officers, having been trained at a huge cost to the nation to defend its territorial integrity, cannot afford to stay aloof and watch the security situation degenerate.
“While it is practically impossible to address all foreseeable security challenges, retirees have a duty to continue to proffer solutions and suggestions towards tackling the security challenges facing the nation.
“This is because the nation has invested a lot of money in making them who they are today,” General Agwai had stated.“Similarly, Admiral Ola Ibrahim said: “As retired military officers, you are trained to be focussed, disciplined, and decisive. These attributes will be required anytime the nation has a need.
”So you should be prepared to deploy your knowledge in the collective search to contain national security challenges.
“I urge you all to individually and collectively deploy your wealth of experience for the nation’s good when called upon. You must deploy the knowledge in arms and combat both individually and collectively in the nation’s interest when called upon to do so.”
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, also recently stated that the nation needed to fall back on retired military officers in the fight against insecurity.
According to the CDS, retired military personnel can use their experience of living with civilians to provide security intelligence that can help in efforts to secure the country.
He told the ex-servicemen not to see themselves as retired personnel, but as combatants still active and could be called to the service of the nation.
Gen Irabor said: “To make a significant impact in ensuring that peace takes pre-eminence in the country, we need to fall back on retired military officers.
“This is because they also live among the people, thereby having a lot to offer regarding security issues.
“Once a military officer, you remain a military officer for life, whether serving or retired. The motto of the country, which is ‘Unity, Peace, and Faith, is what we swore to defend, and we are committed to it.”
A security expert, who preferred anonymity, told Vanguard last night that the high-level insecurity in the country at present informed the need not only to recall retired military personnel, including officers and men but also to recruit more personnel to adequately confront the security challenges in the country.
”Look at it this way. At present, the military is stretched thin, operating in no fewer than 33 of the 36 states in the federation. How do you expect them to cope? And the criminals are getting more emboldened.
”So, what do you do in this circumstance? It is to fortify your armed forces with more personnel to effectively deal with the security problems in the country. There is no part of the country that is today free of insecurity. Therefore, the time to raise the number is now. I totally agree that government recalls officers and men who have retired and are still strong to defend the country against internal and external aggressions,” the expert said.