By Tunde Adetunji, Abuja
Former Chief of Army Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai has advocated for an all dominated infantry force in the Nigerian Army that would be able to tackle the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast region.
Agwai, who is also a one time Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) made this known in a lecture he delivered at the 2017, Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), in Abuja, on Thursday, said the time has come for the Nigerian Army to train all its personnel as infantry soldiers irrespective of their trades, saying that was the only way the Boko Haram terrorists would be wiped out.
He also called for adequate funding, modern equipment and training for Nigerian Armed Forces personnel.
Agwai said: “My suggestion is that the Nigerian Army must be infantry dominated to fight the next war that we are fighting. They must be infantry dominated.
“They must work from the way to combat Boko Haram and to gain power in the fourth generation warfare, from the obvious to the compelling which is to return us from a dominated infantry force with a strong special force skills.
“With every army personnel whether in one degree or the other should either be infantry or have the skills to perform infantry like functions whether you are in the engineer or the armoured Corps or any Corps you should be able to perform in any of the infantry because everywhere is a battle field you don’t know where the fourth generation warfare will start.
“The clear message is that the infantry dominated at the tactical level, that is where the enemy fights more. With all the strategic forces you have, if you do not have tactical capabilities you will be defeated.”
The former army chief, who was the special guest at the occasion, warned that the Boko-Haram terrorists are after the political class and other high ranking Nigerians, contrary to speculation that the terrorists are only after military personnel.
“If people believe that it is only the military that can bring an end to Boko Haram they are making a mistake because those who are involved in the fourth generation warfare are after political and not military targets, military power and military achievements. It is important to note that this type of warfare is difficult to defeat.
“Strategically, the fourth generation warfare remains focused on changing the minds of decision makers, politically it involves transitional and national networks, operationally it uses different messages to different audience and which focus on breaking the opponent political will.
Agwai noted that for this to be achieved it has to be through good leadership who have the capability, integrity and the political will to command.
“This can be done through capable competent leadership. The Chief of Army staff is a section commander and if he is not a good leader he is going to command all into hell.
“The command starts from the bottom up and if you can’t do your job as a section commander don’t go and start blaming the platoon commander,” he said