As the military continues its counter-terrorism efforts against the Boko-Haram insurgents, the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika has called on northern leaders to avail their services to the military in order to rid the country of terrorism.
This is as the United States government will next week, in her support to the ongoing Counter-terrorism efforts in some parts of the country, donate various types of non-lethal military equipment to Nigeria.
Ihejirika stated this yesterday in Abuja at the launching of a book titled:"The Pursuit of Providence", an autobiography on the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Muhammed Dikko Umar (rtd), written by The Guardian, Abuja Bureau Chief, Mr. Madu Onuorah.
According to him, peace could only be achieved in this country when the elites begin to mellow down on tribalism and desist from making inciting statements.
While commenting on the recent arrest made by the military and other security agencies in Abia State, most of whom are northerners, the former Army Chief said: "We have people of northern extraction arrested somewhere in my State by the military and other security agencies, let us not forget that not too long ago we spoke with one voice that we are going to join hands to rid the nation of the menace of terrorism.
"One good way of doing this, is for people of that same extraction to avail their services to the military and they will definitely help the military in sifting out the chaff from the grains, rather than speaking in a manner that try to create pressure that this country is divided".
"When I was in United States (US) recently, my people over there asked, is Nigeria going to divide? I said Nigeria is not dividing, nobody is going anywhere, we are Nigeria united. I had a chat with Dr. Bello on this, and the truth is that ordinarily, you do not choose whom to buy pepper from, you just buy, you don't go to restaurant and be asking if it is owned by Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa man, you just enter and buy".
Ihejirika stressed further that, "all we need in this country is development and progress. And peace can only be possible the moment we elites begin to mellow own on tribalism, statements that lead to violence"
He revealed that there was nothing good said about the former Air Force Chief so far that was wrong and diluted.
Meanwhile, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar congratulated Air Marshal Umar that his perspective was put into reality for the teeming youths and the public in general.
"I have come to appreciate Umar as a pilot who is always focused and is aware of self discipline and sense of judgement which he always apply especially during decision making process and as I watched him grow in service, I was not surprised to see him rise to the pinnacle of his career in the NAF", he said.
Abdusalam stated that Umar conducted the office of the Chief of Air Staff to the admiration of numerous Nigerians, stressing that he was aware that during his tenure, NAF witnessed unprecedented growth and development, particularly in the areas of pilot and non-pilot training and infrastructure development.
Responding, the celebrant, Umar said that he fell in love with the analyses of the author on Guardian Newspapers which he said was without blemish unlike others.
He noted that under his watch the NAF assumed the best in Africa, adding that though the country was being confronted with challenges but that should not deter anyone from pursuing his dreams.
The donation was contained in a statement released yesterday by the Senior Information Specialist, US Embassy Public Affairs Section, Abuja, Mr. Sani Mohammed.
According to Mohammed, the donation of non-lethal transportation, communication and force protection equipment by the United States’ Special Operations Forces Africa, to the Nigerian Army will be done on Monday in the Aguiyi Ironsi Cantonment, Abuja.
He disclosed that the Commander, Special Operations Command Africa, Brig-Gen James B. Lander, will present the equipment to the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOPS), Nigerian Army Headquarters, Major-Gen John A H Ewansiha.
In a related development, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), had in addition to the over 15,000 personnel deployed to Ekiti State, disclosed that it had mobilised over 150 latest specie of sniffer dogs from Russia to comb the entire state for a peaceful and credible election.
Speaking to Journalists yesterday, the Deputy Commandant General, Operations, Evans Ewurum, who led the troop to Ekiti State, assured that every necessary security arrangements have been made to ensure a hitch-free-election.
Ewurum said: "We are not here on a jamboree, we are not here to shoot anybody neither we hunters but we are here to create enabling environment for credible election in the State.
"Because of what we had, we have mobilised over 15,000 personnel to cover the 16 local government areas of the state. Every polling unit must show the presence of NSCDC officers with other security agencies".
He further assured that the corps was expecting serious synergy with other security agencies in the election.
"We have also mobilised our sniffer dogs, the latest dogs that arrived from Russia and Ukraine are all here to watch over the process. All the hot spots in case anybody wants to plan any mischief.
"Our anti-terrorism squad is here, counter-terrorism is here. We also have our chemical and biological unit, the operation and disaster management unit is here. You can see all our Ambulances are all here. In other words, we are highly equipped and well prepared with officers and men that have gotten the skills", he said.
He advised those he described as mischief makers to relocate from Ekiti as there would be no hiding place for them.