Akwa Ibom Chosen to Host Army Day Celebration
01 Jul 2011
The Nigerian Army has chosen Akwa Ibom State as its host for this year's Army Day Celebration (NADCEL). The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Elder) Sam Ikon, brought the information to members during plenary on the desire of the army to bring their annual day celebration to Akwa Ibom State.
Activities line up for the Nigerian Army Day Celebration will come to an end on Wednesday, July 6, to commemorate the day the Nigerian Army fired the first shot on July 6, 1967 during the Nigerian civil war. NADCEL is an annual event organized to project the achievements, capabilities and positive image of the Nigerian Army.
On Saturday, 2nd July, the Nigerian Army will hold a sanitation exercise in Uyo and military formations nationwide; Jumat service will hold on Friday 1st July nationwide while inter-denomination church service will be on Sunday 3rd July; novelty golf tournament at Le’Meridien Ibom Golf Course and visit to orphanages will hold on Tuesday 5th July; while the grand finale will be on 6th July with the Army Ceremonial Parade in Uyo Township Stadium.
On internal security, according to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Onyeabo Ihejirika, in a press conference "We could only be satisfied if all Boko Haram's activities, bombing, kidnapping in the country are stopped," The army, he said, will in the next 10 years concentrate on internal peace support operation as a means of ending insurgencies in the country. Said the Army chief: “Nobody should be intimidated by Boko Haram. That is their tactic, to intimidate the people into not offering information about them.
If they are not cowards, they should come out in the open. “The terrorists live within the people and by that able to intimidate them into not giving them out to security agencies, but they need to be exposed to be arrested. Sometimes, they may not have those weapons in their individual houses, so that when they are arrested in their houses, you may not find anything incriminating, yet they are there. “It is possible they have some hideouts where they hide their weapons to avert anything incriminating being found on them.”
He said the JTF should not be misconstrued as a purely military affair, adding: “To say that Army will play a leading role would be grossly misleading because 90 per cent of the job involved requests intelligence and patriotism. “The involvement of the military is mainly because of the sophistication of their operation, the type of weapon they use, among others.”
He said the information from the generality of Nigerians would be vital in finding a lasting solution to the menace of Boko Haram. “Nigerians, religious leaders, traditional leaders, everyone must come out and expose these traitors,” he said.
In his view, the latest attacks by Boko Haram should awaken security consciousness in Nigerians. “Nigerians are too accommodating, our borders are too porous and Custom officials have not done enough because arms and ammunition used by these groups are imported.
“All hands must be on deck; the Customs must change their attitude, especially as it concerns importation of arms into this country. All must live up to their responsibilities.” He advised Nigerians to be security conscious, noting: “Security can be breached in several ways and anywhere. That is why we are pleading with people to take security seriously.”
On whether to dialogue with and grant amnesty to Boko Haram, Gen. Ihejirika said: “Amnesty is not the concern of the Army, for the Army, the issue is that innocent people are being killed unnecessarily. Committing crime for no just cause by whatever name cannot be allowed to happen.
“They have only managed to capitalise on the general complacency towards security to do one or two things they have been able to do. It is criminality that should not be given any chance at all under any guise”.
While the Army Chief also declared unalloyed loyalty to constituted authorities, he said the theme of the Nigeria Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2011 billed for Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, which is “Enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian Army to meet contemporary security challenges” was apt because “it is coming in the wake of our transformation efforts, national taste of democratic practice along with its accompanying challenges of security”.
In the state House of Assembly the information sparked spontaneous reactions from members of the fifth Assembly. Taking the floor, the Deputy Speaker Hon. (Elder) Udo Kerian Akpan thanked the Speaker for bringing the information to the notice of the House members, acknowledging it as a sign of good cordial relationship between the Speaker and members of the House.
Elder Udo Kierian who represents the people of Oruk Anam State Constituency said for the Nigerian Army to bring its annual day celebration to Akwa Ibom State is a mark of respect and recognition of the infrastructural development witnessed in the state in the last four years.
Citing the cooperation the military security outfit, "Operation Aduma", has received from members of the public, he said the House must be ready to assist the state government for a successful hosting of the celebration.
Hon. Onofiok Luke, representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency, while thanking the Nigerian Army for recognizing Akwa Ibom State, called on them to use this moment of their general meeting to look at how to curb the challenges posed by Boko Haram in the country.
He thanked the Army for partnering with the civilians in the last 12 years of the Nation's democratic experience and expressed the hope that the House will continue to partner with the government for the security of the nation.
Elder Friday Iwok, representing Abak State Constituency, said the choice of Akwa Ibom as venue of Nigerian Army Annual Celebration may not be far from the uncommon transformation brought into the state by Chief Godswill Akpabio in the last four years. "This, I think made them to find Akwa Ibom fit for this celebration, it is historic and memorable," he stated.
Going the same lane, Hon. Effefiong Antigha, representing Okobo State Constituency, said Governor Godswill Akpabio is a rare gift who has turned Akwa Ibom into the beautiful bride where annual meetings of professionals are being held on regular basis.
Hon. Edwin Joseph, representing Uyo State Constituency, expressed the hope that the annual meeting will expose the Nigerian Army to the security challenges in Akwa Ibom and see how they can partner with the other security agencies to address these challenges.
Hon. Dr. Ekaette Ebong 0kon representing Itu State Constituency moved a motion supporting the hosting of the Army Day Celebration in Akwa Ibom state, seconded by Chief Jerome Isangedeighi, representing Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency.