Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
He also noted that the Defence headquarters has made some modest achievements aimed at improving operational capacity, logistics, and welfare needs of officers and men serving in the Defence Headquarters.
Speaking while handing over the mantle of leadership to his successor, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor at the DHQ,Abuja on Friday, Olonisakin said in terms of organisation, some directorates of the DHQ were upgraded to departments to make them more impactful.
This, he said, included the former Directorate of Civil-Military Affairs, which had been upgraded to a department to scale up the non-kinetic operation.
The former CDS said, “We all could recall that at the inception of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Boko Haram terrorist group held sway in parts of the North-East Nigeria, where the sect occupied 20 out of 26 Local Government Areas in Borno State.
“Our immediate challenge on the assumption of office was to flush out the Boko Haram and restore Nigeria’s sovereignty over these occupied territories. Gratefully, with the support of the political leadership and indeed all Nigerians, the Armed Forces of Nigeria, under my leadership was able to reclaim all territories that were then under the control of the Boko Haram.”
While admitting that the insurgency remained a security issue, the retired general insisted that the Armed Forces was equally engaged in assisting the government in addressing other security issues, in line with their constitutional roles.
According to him, the various initiatives and collaborations led to the local production of some of our defence needs including meals-ready-to-eat, airboats, the prototype of an Improvised Explosive Devices detector with extended range, and local production of handheld radios in collaboration with Satcom of Namibia.
The former CDS praised the choice of his successor, noting that he is familiar with the security challenges having previously served as Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Commander Multinational Joint Task Force and above all, the immediate past Chief of Training and Operations at the Defence Headquarters.
“There couldn’t have been a better choice of a seasoned senior officer who will hit the ground running as the Chief of Defence Staff,” he noted.
Speaking during his pulling-out parade on Friday, the outgone Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), said countering insurgents’ activities in the country was warfare that was totally new to the Nigerian Army, adding that it took the military little time before it deviced the means of combating the new threats.
Buratai also insisted that he left the Nigerian Army better than he met it.
According to him, Nigerian Army under his watch had achieved a tremendous feat in the fight against insurgency and other security threats in the country, maintaining that he ensured adequate training of personnel and enhancement of warfare capabilities of the army as well as prioritisation of personnel welfare.
Buratai stressed that the troops under his watch did not allow the terrorist group to hold sway in any local government area in Borno State or the North-East.
Handing over to the new Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, the immediate past CNS, Vice Admiral I. E. Ibas, warned Nigerian Navy personnel conniving with illegal bunkering operators, sea robbers, oil thieves and other maritime criminals to have a change of heart.
He called for support for Gambo to enable him to better secure the maritime sector.
In his remarks at a brief handing over ceremony, the former Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the incoming CAS, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao would add significant value to the Airforce and urged NAF personnel to support the new Air Chief.
He said, ” I urge you all to extend even greater support to my successor, AVM Oladayo Amao, a fine senior officer, an experienced fighter pilot and an innovative leader who i believe will add significant value to what we have been able to do in the past few years.”