General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), former military president, has called for new strategies to check the continued killing of Nigerian soldiers and civilians by Boko Haram and other security challenges bedevilling the country.
Despite claims by the Federal Government that Boko Haram had been brought under control, Nigeria has continued to witness attacks on security forces, soldiers in particular.
Babangida argued on Monday in Minna that recent developments were indications that the insurgents had already become familiar with the strategies adopted by the armed forces, hence the need to evolve new tactics.
In a message to mark the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Babangida said Nigerians should not be oblivious of the fact that the military was facing horrific challenges in the crucial counter-insurgency war and activities of other blood-thirsty armed groups.
The need to change tactics has become necessary, the former president said.
“To say the least, these ugly circumstances are not only heartrending, but also unacceptable. Hence, it is high time we sought to consolidate our gains and also fortify our combat strength,” he said.
Babangida noted that the Nigerian armed forces had performed creditably well, giving the kind of support from the government.
According to him, “Our army is undeniably a professional military establishment that has over the years achieved remarkable successes in protecting our nation’s territorial integrity.
“It is pertinent for the top echelons of our military to speedily evolve new combat strategy to bravely confront the callous terrorists who have continued to hold many parts of the North East, and in extension, Nigeria hostage.”
Recent elections have tested Nigeria’s unity as a people while also posing threats to its socio-cultural diversity, and challenging its common destiny, Babangida said, as he expressed optimism that the country’s armed forces would remain apolitical before, during, and after the elections.
He challenged the Nigerian forces to remain apolitical by focusing only on how to discharge their constitutional responsibility of safeguarding the country either from the aggression of internal rebels in the guise of Boko Haram insurgents, or from external retrogressive forces.
While paying tribute to Nigeria’s heroes, particularly some gallant troops who had been incapacitated while in the theatre of war in the restive North-Eastern part of the country, Babangida saluted the uncommon bravery of the lion-hearted fallen heroes who paid the supreme price in their quest to defend their fatherland.
“Let me also commend our armed forces for their resilience over the years in maintaining peace in Nigeria, the United Nations Missions, the African Union, and regional interventions. I urge all Nigerians to support our military at all times,” he said.