Army Repairs 80 Armoured Tanks for Security Operations
01 Jul 2011: Chris Agbambu
The Nigerian Army has refurbished 80 abandoned armoured tanks in various state of disrepair in readiness for its security operations of maintaining law and order in synergy with other security agencies.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Azubuike Ihejirika, who disclosed this while answering questions from newsmen on activities lined up for the 148th anniversary celebration of the Nigerian Army in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said the army was involved in Operation Mesa, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Flush Out 1 and 2, Operation Safe Haven and, the most recent, Operation Restore Order in Borno State.
According to him, in these operations, the army deployed troops to tackle ethno-religious crises, cross border banditry, kidnapping, illegal oil bunkering, criminal militancy and in recent times, the Boko Haram.
The army chief assured Nigerians that in line with President Goodluck Jonathan's policy of stick and carrot, the Nigerian Army would utilise a more robust and integrated military approach to finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram menace.
He said the army had identified the importance of logistics support, hence new vehicles were procured to enhance operational and administrative efficiency and for combat efficiency noting that the kitting of troops to ensure standardisation was also addressed.
He stated that the army considered the issue of equipment maintenance as a challenge, had, with the support of the president, refurbished and effected repairs on military hardware, while also partnering with indigenous companies to produce some equipment.
The army boss announced that, in order to assist the children of Nigerian Army personnel who died in active service, the scholarship package offered had been enhanced for beneficiaries in primary school to university level.
This, he said, was in line with the present reality and to ensure that these children whose breadwinners paid the supreme price got quality education.
He disclosed that as part of efforts to win the hearts of Nigerians, there would be free medical services in strategic areas in Uyo from Wednesday (yesterday) to next Wednesday.
General Ihejirika further said that one of the elements of national power is the strength of a nation's military of which the army is one and reaffirmed its commitment to uphold the nation's constitution and be subservient to constituted authority in the pursuit to ensure peace, security, economic and social development of the country.
The army chief added that this year's Nigerian Army celebration was significant because it came in the wake of their transformation, national test on democratic practice and the accompanying challenges.