Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has called for more recruitment into the Armed Forces to meet local and international security challenges facing the country, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Ihejirika spoke in a lecture entitled, ‘Resource Diversification and Utilisation in the Army for Human Security Management in Nigeria in the 21st century’ delivered at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Jos on Wednesday.
The speech was delivered on his behalf by Maj.-Gen Jack Nwogbo, the GOC, 3 Div, NA, Rukuba, Jos.
Ihejirika said, “The need for expansion of the Nigerian Army to meet contemporary challenges cannot be overlooked; some new units are being created and such units require personnel.
“This requires, therefore, that the Nigerian Army must recruit and train more soldiers toward greater efficiency in resource utilisation and ensure that the units have adequate rest and recuperation at all times after operation.”
Pointing out that the population size and threats facing a nation usually determine the strength of its armed forces, the COAS noted that there were massive recruitments into the army during the civil war.
He said, “Immediately after the war, the Nigerian army had to downsize its strength in tune with post-war realities.
“Since then, recruitment into the Army, though consistent, has been conservative, since there were no apparent threats, both internally and externally.
“However, the demand for the involvement of the Nigerian Army in containing security threats within and outside Nigeria, has increased since the 1990s.
“Nigeria has been in Liberia for two decades and in Sudan since 2004, while troops are being prepared to be deployed in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
“All these demands, coupled with internal security problems, have stretched the Army to a great extent; the result is that practically every army unit is engaged and there is no redundancy or reserve to cater for rest and recuperation of troops.”
Meanwhile, the COAS has urged unit commanders to be creative in their duties to move the Army forward.
Ihejirika said this in Ibadan on Wednesday at the inauguration of a new office complex and facility at 525 Signal Regiment, Letmauck Cantonment, Mokola.