The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has attributed the latest round of operational setbacks in the fight by the Nigerian Army against the Boko Haram sect to sabotage, low morale and lack of commitment on the part of officers.
According to him, there is evidence of insufficient willingness and commitment by commanders to perform assigned tasks.0
Buratai gave the damning verdict yesterday in Abuja while opening a transformational leadership workshop organised by the military for its middle cadre officers.
Both Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) have executed successful attacks on Borno and Yobe states, killing scores of civilians and military personnel, including the Commanding Officer of the 158 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Lt.-Col. Amanda Azubuike.
The fresh carnage occurred on Sunday night when multiple suicide bombings by three children killed over 30 persons with 40 others injured at a football-viewing centre in Konduga, Borno State.
Buratai submitted: “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military cause by those at the frontlines.
“Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or service cause.
“I, therefore, believe that the transformational leadership workshop, will again, remind and clarify to participants what our President and Commander-in-Chief meant by ‘this generation and indeed, future generations of Nigerians have no other country but Nigeria, we must remain here and salvage it together.’
“Although the President made the remark about 35 years ago, it is still relevant today given, as we see in some cases, that apathy has even increased among the younger generations.”
The Army chief stressed that leadership was key to professionalism, hence professional courses include aspects of military leadership skills acquisition.
He explained that such skills equip personnel with the capacity to control and care for members of their group from the lowest tactical to the highest operational level.
Buratai said the army conducts special military leadership programmes when necessary to complement what was provided in the routine courses.