S’East Development Peace Initiative lauds COAS’s transformation of the army

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South East Development Peace Initiative, has hailed the ongoing repositioning of the Nigerian Army by the Chief Of Army Staff Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja.

The group while appreciating the conscious efforts to make the army more responsive also hailed recent breakthroughs in the battle against insecurity.

The commendation is coming on the heels of the recent delivery of the first batch of new aircraft by the army, marking a significant step in enhancing its operational capabilities especially in the fight against insurgency.

President of the South East Development Peace Initiative Hon Vitus Okechi in a press statement extolled the Chief of Army Staff’s  commitment towards transforming the Nigerian army into a well-trained, equipped and highly motivated force towards achieving its constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment.

He commended President Bola Tinubu for appointing Lagbaja stressing that the insecurity in the country which had brought Nigeria to her knees will soon be history following the very robust strategy, clear and resolute vision from the current Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja.

Okechi, a former Local Government Chairman and Commissioner in Enugu State noted that the pervasive nature of insecurity had cast a shadow over the country’s prospects for peace, prosperity, and social cohesion.

“However, the appointment of General Taoreed Lagbaja, as the  23rd Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has given a new shot in the arm to the war against insecurity in the country.

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“The role of Nigerian armed forces, particularly the Nigerian Army, has never been more crucial than now. Amidst these challenges, the leadership of the Nigerian Army under Lt.General Lagbaja has been pivotal in formulating and executing strategies aimed at decimating insurgency and restoring hope to all.

“Lt. General  Lagbaja the Chief of Army Staff, assumed office at a critical juncture in Nigeria’s history. Tasked with the herculean responsibility of leading the Nigerian Army in its fight against insurgency, his tenure has been marked by a series of proactive strategies and operational engagements aimed at confronting the myriad security threats facing the nation.

“Central to the Chief of Army Staff’s vision is a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of insecurity while simultaneously bolstering the capacity of the Nigerian Army to respond effectively to emerging threats.

“One of the key pillars of Lagbaja’s approach has been prioritising personnel welfare. Recognising the importance of personnel welfare in mobilising competent committed and loyal officers at all levels, the COAS has recently implemented a series of policies to enhance the work ethic and effectiveness of officers. The results of this visionary leadership have been overwhelming as terrorists and insurgents in their numbers are being decimated daily and across regions.”

Okechi described the recent delivery of the first batch of new aircraft by the army as a significant step towards enhancing its operational capabilities especially in the fight against insurgency.

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He described it as a significant milestone in the development of the Nigerian Army Aviation’s capacity to provide air support for ground operations.

The aircraft, BELL UH-1H (HUEY) helicopters, were formally received by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja in a brief ceremony held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Thursday 20 June, 2024.

Receiving the aircryafts, General Lagbaja, noted that the renewed drive to establish an NA Aviation wing was conceived by the then-former COAS, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah (rtd), in 2014, with a three-phase ten-year implementation plan.

The COAS extolled former Chiefs of Army Staff, maintaining that their tenacity and drive, along with the collective efforts of personnel and Nigerian Government’s political will, have been instrumental in realizing the fruition of NA Aviation.

Gen. Lagbaja appreciated the various successive administrations for their support in training NA Pilots and Ground Crews as well as putting in place requisite structures. The COAS profoundly expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for fulfilling his promise to fund the acquisition of NA platforms and providing all support to actualize the dream.

The BELL UH-1H Helicopters are equipped with advanced sensors and enablers to conduct a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, rescue, logistics, transportation, and medical evacuation.

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The  Army Chief also appreciated the forerunners, particularly the sister services and the Nigerian Police Force Aviation wing, for their support and encouragement. He noted that the NA is spurred to serve the nation better with the acquisition of the new platforms and provide Nigerians, an enabling environment for economic prosperity.

In his remarks, the Coordinator, NA Aviation, Brigadier General Musa Alkali, stated that the arrival of the NA Aviation vanguard platforms is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance the operational capabilities of the NA Aviation, in line with the COAS’s Command Philosophy.

Brig Gen Alkali stressed that the acquisition of the platforms is a clear demonstration of the NA’s aviation resolve, which started 40 years ago to continuously improve and adapt in the face of an evolving security landscape, adding that this will boost the NA’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and air mobility capabilities. The Coordinator acknowledged the tireless efforts of those involved in the execution of the NA Aviation plan, as well as the international partners.

Earlier, a Consultant for the Nigerian Army Aviation, Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu (retired) who is also a trained Helicopter Pilot, lauded the Nigerian Army  for sustaining the vision over the years that saw to the  actualization of the Nigerian Army aviation.

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