Tuesday, 15th June 2021: House of Representatives, Tuesday, mandated the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, (COAS), Maj. Gen. Farouk Yahaya to end the threats of insecurity in the country if confirmed by the National Assembly.
The House said that the war against insurgency in the northeast region has cost the country a lot of financial resources with many lives lost.
The charges were handed down to the new army chiefs during his screening and confirmation by the Joint House Committees on Defence and Army respectively chaired by Hon. Babajimi Benson representing Ikorodu federal constituency of Lagos State and Abdulrazaq Namdas from Adamawa State.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed Yahaya to replace former COAS, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a plane crash in Kaduna.
Benson who spoke for the Committees in his speech also tasked Yahaya with a virile army that would be result-oriented.
He assured the army of the continued support of the House of Representatives.
He said: “This exercise comes at a very challenging time in the history of our dear country, Nigeria. Our nation has been besieged by several security issues across all the geo-political zones with banditry, militancy, and self-secessionists stretching our military to the extreme.
“The worst is the lingering insurgency in the North-East. This war has cost the country a lot both financially and in terms of human lives. This must stop.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria needs to adopt innovative measures to curb the killings and wanton destruction of property as a result of these cases of insecurity. I, therefore, hope that, if confirmed, the new Chief of Army Staff will do everything possible, working with other service chiefs, to bring this to an end.
“You will agree with me that Nigeria deserves a re-invigorated Armed Forces that is robust, well-trained, adequately equipped, efficient, and fully motivated to protect Nigerians from the devastating effects of terrorism and other security challenges in the country.
“This screening exercise comes at the heels of Nigeria’s twenty-two years of uninterrupted democratic experience. I must say that the relationship between the National Assembly and Armed Forces of Nigeria has progressively improved as the parliament continues to exercise the necessary democratic oversight of the defence sector.
“Let me reiterate the firm resolve of the 9th House of Representatives, ably led by the Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and particularly, the Committees on Defence and that of Army’s pledge to continually ensure a secure, peaceful, and prosperous country for all Nigerians. We will therefore continue to work with the Armed Forces of Nigeria to achieve this.
“Let me assure you that the Joint Committees on Defence and Army will be thorough, transparent, and sincere in the conduct of this screening. We owe this to Nigerians as their representatives. Consequently, we seek your cooperation as we embark on this constitutional legislative process”.
In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, Bashiru Magashi who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry expressed optimism that the House would find the army chief worthy of confirmation.
Asked to introduce himself and defend his appointment, Yahaya who chronicled his military exploits since his sojourn in the Nigeria Army 36 years ago said he was fit for the job and will deliver.
He said: “I joined the Navy 36 years ago. So, I brought along with me 36 years of military experience. I’m abreast with the security requirements of Abuja, and so on.
“I was involved in several security operations. The challenges we are facing now, all are characterized by these areas I mentioned where I have first-hand information and have commanded troops and I administered them in achieving what we’ve done.
“I believe I have the requisite requirements by the grace of God to now provide my services in this office of the chief of Army Staff if confirmed. What I brought is a wealth of experience and commitment. So, I’m committed and determined to provide my best and also having known what’s required to achieve results.
“Security is everybody’s business. The job cannot be done by one person. So we need all the support. And with the support of the people will win our fight against insecurity.”
Responding to a question of lack of synergy among the hierarchy of army, navy, air force, and other security agencies in the theatre of war posed by the chairman Committee, Namdas, Yahaya said there was perfect understanding, interaction, and cooperation within them.
Namdas had attributed their inability to win the war in the north east to the lack of cooperation amongst the various security institutions.
But the army chief said he enjoyed a robust relationship with the other service chiefs who he said were well known to him even at the academy.
He however called for the cooperation of all Nigerians at various levels to enable him to succeed.
“From experience, this job cannot be done by any single service or entity. Indeed, in the Army, the Army itself is a group work not individual that’s why we arranged in sections and companies and battalions and brigades. This job is collective and as it was captured in the vision of the late Chief of Army Staff and in my own Mission too, there was also mention of the joint environment in what we do, having realized that this job is not one service job.
“Not only that, but it also requires other agencies, services, and stakeholders. We have always operated together that is why you see composition, Army, Navy, Airforce are there and now including the Police, DSS, Civil Defense.
“At the Army headquarters level, all the Service Chiefs now, we are all mates at the Academy. At one time or the other, all of our work together. So, the synergy can’t be anything better now that we’re brought up together, we have trained together.
“As we know, internal security is intelligence-driven operation. So, we need others including communities, including traditional rulers and all others who can provide information. We work together”, Yahaya said.