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Military decries continuous involvement in police operations, say personnel overstretched

The Nigerian military has said its involvement in routine police functions in no fewer than 32 states across the federation is becoming inimical to their operations saying, the trend is overstretching its officers and men adversely.

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Speaking at the Senior Staff Course 40 Symposium at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, senior military officers advocated more recruitment and training of police personnel to live up to the charge.

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They faulted the fact that a country with a population of 192 million has less than 400,000 police personnel.

The officers noted that their primary role is territorial protection, as against constant involvement in internal operations.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin said the theme of the symposium is apt in view of the plethora of extant and emerging threats to Nigerians national security services in combating these threats.

The CDS represented by the Chief of Defence, Training and Operations, Defence headquarters, Major General Ahmed Mohammed said the symposium  is expected to generate ideas that would help to reposition the defence and security services for enhanced operational effectiveness in furtherance of Nigeria’s National security.

Commandant of the college, Air Vice Marshal Lawal Alao said the workshop is aimed at generating ideas from the critical minds of students in order to help the Service find solutions to the insecurity facing the country.

He added that it is hoped the strategies proffered by the students in their service papers will go a long way in tackling insecurity in the country.

Meanwhile, students of group 1 in a paper titled ‘Defence and National Security: Assessing the Involvement of the Military in Police Duties’ said records show that as at January 2018, the Nigerian military has been involved in internal security operations in 32 states of the federation representing 89 percent coverage of Nigeria.

They said, “The Nigerian military is being overstretched because of its involvement in police duties across the country, Nigerians ranking in the list of the United Nations ranking  of troops contributing countries dipped from 5th position in 2013 to 14th position in 2016, this could be related in the increased involvement in internal security duties."

Commenting on the way forward, the students listed joint training at tactical level, re-orientation on protection of human rights, fast tracking the passage of the reserve bill and outlining a clear exit strategy in the planning stages of an operation.

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