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Open letter to the new Chief of Army Staff

There is an urgent need to reflect on the enormous task ahead

Sir, I join Nigerians in their numbers to sincerely congratulate you on your recent appointment as the 22nd Nigeria Chief of Army Staff (CoAS).

Your appointment to the exalted office was indeed meritorious and well deserved. Meritorious on account of your experience and as one who has held high ranking positions and served in various capacities in the field.

There is an urgent need to reflect on the enormous task ahead and define urgent immediate and long term remedial strategies. Nigeria is hanging precariously on a dangerous cliff. The nation needs urgent help!

On May 27 when government announced your elevation to the position of the new Army Chief, a video streaming online showed officers and men of Counter-Terrorism/Counter Insurgency Outfit -Operation Hadin Kai, Borno, where you last served as the Theatre Commander,  in joyous mood. It was such a rare solidarity never seen or exhibited before in the Army. That moment in my estimation captured the genuine feelings of officers and men of the Nigerian Army about the kind of officer you are.  That singular act of the officers and men represents the trust the nation reposes in you, atrust to free our land from mines, criminality and sound of detonated bombs and bullets, to see to the welfare of the troops serving in various fronts and the entire personnel.  It is a burden and responsibility you should discharge without fail.

For over a decade, the country has been contending with the rising spate of insecurity which it does not seem to be abating any time soon.  The perpetrators of these violent and heinous crimes are becoming audacious and stronger every day. They are not ready to back down on account of the sweet scent of the bad business. The auspicious moment to speak the language they understand is now.

It is heart-warming that the day you wore your new rank, you assured the nation that; “Many of the bandits and criminal elements have been sent to God for their crimes and we will continue to do that.”

One will easily concede to the fact that the task is enormous, nonetheless it is not insurmountable. With the right strategic approach and reliable point men the enemies will be counting their heavy losses soon.

Sir, It has been rumoured that some politicians and even soldiers have been supportive of the lingering insecurity challenges in the land. They deserve nothing more than a decisive blow. Fish them out wherever they are and cause the law to deal with them accordingly.

Your officers and men should be treated with respect and dignity. It is not easy to be a soldier. Their salaries, allowances and sundry entitlements should be paid as at when due. Never give room for them to live in regret of ever serving their fatherland.

You can make a difference by judiciously utilising the humongous Army’s budget for exactly what it is meant for. Your name will be ascribed in gold as one man who, despite all odds, restored peace and stability desired currently in our land.

With the arrival of six Super Tucano Fighter Jets, a sustained joint land and aerial operation will cripple the criminals. There has to be a functional synergy between the Army and other security agencies in dealing with existential threats.

The Army/military-civil relations is key to winning this war. Apply non-conventional means to get the desired result. Reach out genuinely to the communities and areas affected by crisis. The uniform is our national pride thus should not be an instrument of bullying and molestation of citizens. Citizens deserve to sleep with both eyes closed. With your wealth of experience and track records in field operations and others, the nation eagerly awaits for your midas touch.

Sunday Onyemaechi Eze

[email protected]

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