Concerned Professionals’ Congress (CPC) has lauded former Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali (retd) and the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin for their successive roles in bringing about the current onslaught on Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East.
The advocacy group said their pivotal roles in seeking improved military equipment laid the proper ground for the recent massive deployment of high-grade military hardware to the North East in the last three weeks.
The CPC’s Chief Media Strategist, Mr. Emeka Nwankpa, in a joint statement they issued in Abuja with the Northern Regional Rapporteur, Kasim Baba Kasim, praised the former Defence minister and the CDS for their conviction and commitment to increased arms procurement for the military, noting that their efforts were the game-changer in the ongoing military offensive against insurgents in the North East.
According to the group, some of the equipment procured are; main battle tanks, armoured guard booths and mine-cleaning vehicles, troop-bearing vehicles, buffalo vehicles procured in 2018 and delivered by the Chinese state-owned defence company, NORINCO.
Others are Typhoon mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPS), Spartan armoured personnel carriers, VT-4 main battle tanks and wheel mobile 105-mm SH5 self-propelled howitzers and ST-1 tank destroyer fitted with ordinance AH-2 155 mm/L52 howitzer compatible with standard 155 mm NATO ammunition.
The advocacy group noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s huge investment in the nation’s defence sector was built on the dogged push by Mansur Dan-Ali and the CDS in the rearmament, training, re-training, welfare and the general repositioning of the armed forces.
The advocacy group praised the commitment and single-mindedness displayed by Mansur Dan-Ali and the CDS to pursue the military’s arms upgrade programme.
“The nation is indeed grateful for the rare commitment and doggedness of these two patriotic officers in pursuing the massive arms upgrade of our Armed Forces towards boosting its current combat efficiency. These new sophisticated platforms in the three services are phenomenal’’, Nwankpa said.
Nwankpa described the military weapons upgrade programme as the most revolutionary, comprehensive and far-reaching decision ever taken for the military by a Nigerian government after the Shehu Shagari regime of the 1980s.
He recalled that the Coordinator of the newly-created Defence Media Operations, Maj General John Enenche, disclosed thay top Boko Haram commanders such as Abu Usamah were killed while their armoury and other key structures were massively decimated by the troops.
Nwankpa maintained that though weapons could never be enough, weaponry remained a strategic factor in the war plans of any military.
He expressed satisfaction that the Nigerian Army recently took delivery of new state-of-the-art Chinese-made battle tanks and artillery vehicles to tackle insurgency in the North East and general insecurity in the country.
Nwankpa also recalled that before May 29, 2015 when President Muhammadu assumed office, there was widespread apprehension in the country over the prolonged war on terror due to the inability of the administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to purchase arms for desperate troops owing to alleged international conspiracy.