Former Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has given insights how the Nigeria Army under his watch stemmed the tide of Boko Haram terrorists; and crushed the notorious kidnap kingpin, ‘Osisikankwu’ terrorising Abia State at that time.
The former Army Chief who stated this at a media chat in his Ovim Isuikwuato country home, declared that the Nigeria armed forces had made huge sacrifices towards safeguarding the country, and still willing to live up to their calling.
He said that a lot had been achieved by the Nigeria armed forces, adding that with adequate empowerment and motivation, no task will be too difficult with the personnel.
On how to quail the growing insecurity in parts of the country, the former COAS said he had severally volunteered his opinion to the relevant authorities at different fora, but advised Government to provide security agents with the necessary incentives.
” I left office at a time Boko Haram was stepping up but we did our best to stem the tide. I have participated in several conferences of the Chief of Army Staff, and others, and I have rendered my advice on what to be done.”
Recalling how the Army under his watch crushed the notorious ‘Osisikankwu’ and his gang holding Abia to ransom between 2009 and 2010, Gen. Ihejirika said all that the armed forces needed to quail the insurgency in parts of the country were adequate motivation and equipment.
” Ukwa West people had virtually gone on exile. Ukwa East had a semblance of life. At a point banks were using helicopter to ferry money in Aba until the bad boys had the guts to shoot at it. Then, banks deserted Aba.
” The same military under my command that brought back sanity is still the same military, and it is capable.”
He expressed concern over the incidents of insecurity especially abduction for ransom around Isuikwuato axis but noted that the external perpetrators have some internal collaborators.
On the agitation for self determination by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Gen. Ihejirika sued for peace and dialogue, while supporting the clamour for political solution concerning the detained IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“The world recognises peaceful agitation. I sue for peaceful agitation at all times. It will make people to listen to you. But once you go violent, you lose the sympathy you have.
” Government remains a father of all. What we want is peace and progress, and whatever that will guarantee this should not be disregarded.”
Responding to a question on the proposed ban on cows by IPOB slated to take effect from April in South East and South South, Ihejirika advocated engagement of self determination agitators with a view to addressing the root causes of their agitation.
” Before banning, what measures have you put in place to ensure people don’t die of kwashiorkor?
” Leaders must tackle all these intractable problems that make people ban this and ban that.”
Gen. Ihejirika who is into farming advocated massive engagement of youths in mechanized farming for peace and economic survival.
The former General who said “passion and interest” drove him into farming appealed to Abia youths to embrace mechanised farming.
Ihejirika who conducted newsmen round his poultry farm, goat farm, and green house where pepper is grown, promised to provide free yam seedlings to Abia youths willing to embrace farming in addition to undertaking the cost of farm clearing.