The immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS), retired Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, has re-emphasised the need for improved funding of the nation’s Armed Forces by the present administration.
Minimah made the call in a valedictory speech he delivered at the pulling out ceremony organised in his honour at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The ex-service chief, who decried the long years of neglect of the armed forces, blamed the phenomenon for the set back initially encountered in the fight against Boko Haram.
According to him, a nation is as strong as its armed forces and the strength of the armed forces is in the quality of the individual soldier and his fighting spirit.
“The fighting spirit of the soldier imbues him with confidence to stand up to the adversary rather than flee like we witnessed in the recent past.
“While adequate attention to his welfare demonstrates his nation’s commitment to his wellbeing and motivates him to sacrifice everything including his life, discipline and sanctions, confines him within the military laws.
“For long, our nation has toyed with the health and vitality of its military,’’ he said.
Minimah said the ongoing counter-insurgency operation has been an `eye opener’, stressing that the nation could no longer afford to relegate military affairs to the background as it had done in the past.
He also urged all segments of the society to support the armed forces to enable it regain its lost confidence and glory.
“This is the time for our country to reinvigorate the armed forces by investing in it, government must provide the necessary resources and the right political environment to recruit, train, equip, kit and remunerate our service.
“We all have a role to play to make our armed forces great again. Never again should we allow ourselves to walk this path, never again,’’ Minimah said.
However, Minimah paid glowing tributes to the men and officers of the armed forces for their role in stabilising the polity in spite of the `dooms day’ prediction of the country’s disintegration.
The retired general said despite the funding gaps, he was bequeathing a military that was battle ready and could effectively defend the nation’s territories against both external and internal aggression.
He solicited the support of the media, different arms of government at all levels and other critical segments of society for the nation’s armed forces.
According to him, no foreign national can claim to love Nigeria more than Nigerians, justifying the need for Nigerians to show more love for their country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highpoint of the ceremony was the pulling out of the retired army chief by serving generals amidst cheers from guests at the occasion. (NAN)