NIGERIAN Army commanders have stepped up their recruitment of intakes in Ebonyi State as part of an ambitious programme to develop brigades of special forces to combat the growing menace of insurgency in the northeast.
Since 2009, Boko Haram have been waging a war against the Nigerian state and despite the efforts of the military, the terrorist insurgents have refused to be crushed. Realising that they need to adopt a different approach to the problem, Nigeria’s military top brass have decided to create special forces and the chief of army staff Lt General Tukur Buratai, said recruitment for this has begun with the project being launched in Ebonyi State.
Yesterday, General Buratai, represented by the director of the Directorate of Army Recruitment, Resettlement and Reserve, Brigadier Emmanuel Akpan, told the Ebonyi State governor David Umahi, that Boko Haram cannot be finished off by conventional troops. At a meeting in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State, the army boss revealed that these special forces will be elite squads.
Brigadier Akpan said: “The normal army that was trained to engage particularly in conventional warfare are having a lot of problems as you can see in the north-eastern region. So, recently the chief of army staff instituted a special forces concept, which is a special skill that you can use to fight war.
“This special training will now be integrated in every training in the Nigerian Army, meaning that anybody that is recruited in the Nigerian Army with effect from now, will have to go through that process. It is a tough training and requires a lot of physical and mental fitness, so, we need young men and women who are physically fit.”
He noted that those from the age of 16 and above would be employed in the Nigerian Army with four credits including English and Mathematics in not more than two sittings. Brigadier Akpan urged the youths of Ebonyi State to apply for recruitment into the Nigerian Army when its portal opens for recruitment, which he said will soon commence.
Governor Umahi, who was represented by his deputy Kelechi Igwe, decried the short-changing of the people of the state when it comes to recruitment into the Nigerian Army. He alleged that people from other parts of the country usually take up the identity of Ebonyi people and take all the state’s quota in any army recruitment.
Deputy Governor Igwe said: “Before our ascension into office, what had obtained in the southeast, particularly in Ebonyi State is that people have been short-changed in the army. When you go to look at the list, you will discover that men from other regions will answer Ebonyi State’s name, take up the identity of our people and take the quota that is meant and reserved for Ebonyi state.
“We are not happy with such unpleasant situations and I believed that our governor has complained severally about it. We think that having men like you and the chief of army staff will resolve such intractable problem that we have been having in Ebonyi State.”