The immediate Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin said the invasion of the nation’s forests by terrorists was not a surprise because he already envisaged that bandits, kidnappers and terrorists were likely to hide under the cover of forests to perpetuate their evil crime.
Olonisakin said this during a special thanksgiving service organised for him by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in his Ode Ekiti home town in Ekiti State.
Gen. Olonisakin said the armed forces, under his leadership, worked hard to overcome insecurity, saying the Nigerian Army in particular, in partnership with other security formations worked tirelessly to checkmate insecurity in Nigeria.
According to him, the Armed Forces identified 14 security challenges and developed strategies that bordered heavily on intelligence gathering and working with other agencies to tackle those crises.
Olonisakin thanked God for the privilege to serve the nation at the highest military level.
“I also thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to head the armed forces for 66 months and 13 days.
“We went through the storm and came up with those babies of necessities.
“The system did not have those structures to do what we were facing, so we had to come up with ad hoc arrangements like the platforms we created with the intelligence agencies,” he said.
He said that he put in series of measures as the CDS with the vision to make sure the nation had well-equipped armed forces that would be responsive to national commitment.
“So, I encouraged the officers under me to add value wherever they found themselves.
“And we always think outside the box because if you don’t do that, you might not add value and more importantly, give the system their best.
“That was why we were coming up with strategies on monthly basis to address the challenges we were facing on security threats ranging from terrorism, insurgency, to theft,” he said.
He said that he outlined 14 of them and made sure that for each of them, the military had strategies to address them.
“We were also futuristic in our approach to address some of the strategies. This invasion of our forests by bandits we are experiencing at the moment, I saw it years back.
“I did a kind of study and I knew that our next target was going to be the forests.
“We changed the training, especially the use of Special Forces, to make sure we brought them in to address the issue.
“We also created a platform to synergise with intelligence agencies, because unknown to the public at that time, there was a lot of synergies between the security and the intelligence agencies.
“We also made sure we encouraged a lot of research and development in the Army formation.
“So, we did our best for this nation in terms of resolving this pathetic insecurity issue, that I can boldly say”, he said.
He, therefore, advised his successor, Lt Gen Lucky Irabor and other security Chiefs to be diligent, patriotic and build on the gains made by their predecessors, for the country to subdue the lingering insecurity crises.
Speaking on his plans as an Ambassador-designate, he thanked Mr President for counting them worthy of appointment as Ambassadors-designate.
“As ambassadors, we will represent the country well and also project its image wherever we find ourselves,” he said.