By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
The immediate past Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin (retd), has explained that despite all odds, the Nigerian Army under him, in partnership with other security formations worked tirelessly to checkmate insecurity in Nigeria.
Olonisakin said the system did not have those structures to face the type of challenges the security agencies were facing but had to develop adhoc arrangements like the creation of a common platform with the intelligence agencies to confront the problem at hand.
He said the country’s armed forces while he was in office identified 14 security challenges, which he said he developed strategies that bordered heavily on intelligence gathering and working with other agencies to tackle those crises.
The former CDS spoke yesterday during a special thanksgiving service held in his honour at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Sunrise Parish), Ode Ekiti, Gbonyin local government area of Ekiti state.
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According to him, “I won’t start by really thanking God for the privilege to serve the nation at the highest military level. I also thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to head the armed forces for 66 months and 13 days.
“We went through the storm and came up with those babies of necessities. The system did not have those structures to do what we were facing, so we had to come up with ad-hoc arrangements like the platforms we created with the intelligence agencies.
“Those were the things I was pursuing as the CDS and of course, the vision was to make sure we have well-equipped armed forces that would be responsive to national commitment.
“So I encouraged the officers under me to add value wherever they found themselves. And we always think outside the box, because if you don’t do that, you might not add value and more importantly, give the system its best.
“That was why we were coming up with strategies on monthly basis to address the challenges we were facing on security threats ranging from terrorism, insurgency, to theft. I outlined 14 of them and we made sure that for each of them, we had strategies to address them.
“I was also futuristic in our approach to addressing some of the strategies. This invasion of our forests by bandits we are experiencing at the moment, I saw it years back. I did a kind of study and I knew that our next target was going to be the forests.
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“We changed the training, especially the use of special forces, to make sure we brought them in to address the issue. We also created a platform to synergise with intelligence agencies, because unknown to the public at that time, there were a lot of synergies between the security and the intelligence agencies.
“We also made sure we encourage a lot of research and development in the Army formation. So, we did our best for this nation in terms of resolving this pathetic insecurity issue, that I can boldly say”, he said.
He advised his successor, Lt Gen Lucky Irabor, and other security Chiefs to be diligent, patriotic, and build on the gains made by their predecessors, for the country to subdue the lingering insecurity crises.
Speaking on his plans as an ambassador-designate, he said, “Let me thank Mr President for counting us worthy to appoint us as ambassadors-designate.
“As ambassadors, we will represent the country well and also project it’s image wherever we find ourselves”.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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