Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has acknowledged the needed for non-kinetic approach in tackling the challenge of insecurity in the South-East geo-political zone.
Gen. Lagbaja who was fielding questions from newsmen during his visit to 14 Brigade Nigeria Army, Ohafia, Abia State, noted that military option alone would not bring a complete end to the lingering Mondays sit-at-home in the zone.
He solicited the cooperation of the relevant stakeholders in introducing non-kinetic measures including developmental initiatives to eliminate the menace.
Recall that the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, during the launch of Peace In South-East PISE-P initiative, vigorously advocated the adoption of non-kinetic approach in tackling insecurity in the South-East.
The COAS said: “There are several lines of efforts in combating asymmetric threats, and the use of military is one line of the efforts. The impact of the military line of effort is limited, and so, we need other supporting lines of efforts such as developmental initiatives in combating this threat.
“We need other stakeholders to come on board to completely address this issue. While we continue to deploy the military line of effort, we need the collaboration of these other stakeholders to address the threat.”
He said that talks were already on-going with the stakeholders including government, youths and market union leaders on how to end sit-at-home in the region.
The COAS who was until his elevation, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigeria Army Enugu, noted that security situation in the South-East, has improved significantly.
He commended troops in the Division for their dexterity and efforts in combating insurgency in the region.
“The security situation in the South-East has improved. The spate of attacks on Government facilities and installations have reduced drastically.
“The issue of kidnapping is being addressed. That’s the charge I have given the troops to go out against the dissident groups and completely exterminate the threat.
“As GOC then, I knew what the situation was like, but from the briefs I receive now as COAS, I will say the troops have done very well to combat the threats.”
Addressing the soldiers earlier, the COAS cautioned them against the abuse of social media, warning that the personnel caught violating the rules would be decisively dealt with.
The Army boss tasked soldiers on loyalty and respect for the core values of the Nigeria Army.
“The social media is good but you must use it responsibly. We will not go to the social media and start abusing constituted authorities like the young soldier did against Lagos State Governor.
“What you cannot do to your dad or elders at home don’t do it to others. The Army is a disciplined organisation and we can’t tolerate that. If we see it, we will descend heavily on you.
“You must conform with the rules and regulations that guide us. We have our core values, and we expect every soldier to abide by them.”
He promised improved welfare package for soldiers, urging them to remain dedicated to duty.
The COAS equally disclosed that the Federal Government has approved payment of backlog of Group Assurance package for the families of their departed colleagues.
On the challenges of water and power supplies in the barracks, Gen. Lagbaja said the Army authorities with the support of the Abia State Government had initiated measures to address them, and solicited the patience of the soldiers.
He, however, explained that power disruption in the area was as a result of the activities of vandals who tampered with power installations supply light to the area.
The COAS noted that solar panels were being installed in the barracks to improve on power supply.
He further said that the Army headquarters “is working to improve” the living conditions of soldiers.
“We are receiving tremendous support from the Federal Government,” he added.
The COAS, therefore, charged the Army personnel to reciprocate Government gestures by being loyal and committed to duty.
Some top Army Officers on the entourage of the COAS were the Army Spokesman, Major Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu; GOC 82 Division Enugu, Major General Hassan Taiwo Dada; among others.
The COAS who inspected facilities at the Brigade also inaugurated the Brigade Commander’s Quarters renovated by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Nsikak John Edet.
He later paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Alex Otti at his Isiala Ngwa country home.