A former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Azubike Ihejirika, at the weekend revealed that the Army tackled insecurity, especially the Boko Haram terrorists, during his leadership through increasing the strength of the Nigerian Army within three years.
The former COAS explained that increasing the capacity of the Army helped in handling the security challenges at the time, detecting insecurity threats. This, he said, led to the prevention of a major problem that would have increased the challenges of insecurity confronting the country.
Ihejirika at a Reunion and Gala Night of 18 Regular Course of the Nigerian Army at the weekend in Abuja, declared: “We were able to identify the nature of and complexity of the problem, we went ahead to quickly increased the strength of the army by 25 per cent in the span of three years.
“Without that, it would have been a major issue because of several commitments both internally and externally when Nigerian Army was involved in foreign operations.”
Ihejirika remarked that the major achievement during his tenure was the establishment of the Nigerian Army Language Institute (NALI) at Ovim in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State. The former COAS said that it was aimed at facilitating the integration of the Nigerian Army with other neighboring countries.
“The idea was to give Nigerian Army the capacity to collaborate with other countries. Nigerian being a nation surrounded by francophone countries and with time, other languages will be taught”, Ihejirika said.
He added that he established the institute to also assist Nigerian soldiers on peace keeping mission to fluently communicate after noticing poor communication skill among Nigerian soldiers and their colleagues from neighbouring non-English-speaking countries.
He noted that the Nigerian Army also prescribed, under his mandate, different languages as criteria for promotion of junior officers.
“With time, other Languages of interest will be taught but it is important to note that since the army has gone further to make different languages parts of the requirements for the promotion of junior officers,” Ihejirika stated.