14th January, 2016
Nigerian Army said on Wednesday that as part of its plans to secure the country’s territorial borders from all sorts of criminal elements, it will establish two new divisions- the 8th Division with headquarters around the northern part of Borno State as well as the 6th Division in the South south part of the country
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai who announced the creation of the new divisions while delivering a lecture titled ‘Nigerian Army: Challenges and Future Perspectives’, at the National Defence College, Abuja, said the new division would soon become fully operational with logistics and manpower deployments.
The Army established the 7th Infantry Division in Maiduguri to boost the military’s counter-insurgency operation in the North-east in August, 2013.
According to Buratai, the establishment of the new divisions was part of a strategic plan to improve on the Nigerian Army’s operational capabilities in the face of emerging threats to national security.
The COAS said Nigeria contemporary national security needs and the country’s territorial size required more than the army it presently had in terms of personnel strength. He also noted that the location of the Special Forces Training Centre in Buni Yadi in Yobe State being one of the theatres of the Boko Haram war, is an indication of the Army’s determination to end insurgency.
“Emerging threats to the security of our nation which has been aggravated by the proliferation of armed groups has added to the task of the military in protecting the lives of Nigerians and the integrity of its territory. The focus of the Nigerian Army, today, is to find lasting solutions to these contemporary threats posed by the activities of the armed groups and their allies.
“The Nigerian Army therefore remains poised to the extermination of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria; today, they can no longer hold any territory as it used to be in the past. That is why they have resorted to the use of IEDs to hit soft targets.
“We have established the 8 division located in the northern part of Borno specifically to clear the area of the remaining terrorists’ elements while another division, 6 Division, will be established in the South-south.
“The establishment of the additional formations would bring the number of divisions in the Nigerian Army to eight,” said Buratai.
He also revealed that the Army would embark on an ambitious expansion programme to address manpower needs of the force to respond appropriately to contemporary threats to national security. In this vein, he revealed that the Army planned to increase its personnel strength from its present 100,000 strength-force to slightly above 200,000 in the next eight years.
Towards this end, Buratai said 12,000 personnel would be recruited in 2016 alone to fill the vacancies created as a result of establishment of the new divisions.
The COAS identified Nigeria’s weak industrial base, the effect of climate change on the environment and Nigeria’s porous borders as some of the factors fuelling armed conflict in Nigeria.
Nigerian military has since 2009 been battling insurgent group Boko Haram which has its roots in Borno State across North East Nigeria.
It has been estimated that over 10000 lives have been lost to the activities of the group which has now extended its terrorists activities to Nigeria neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Though the military claimed it has succeeded in significantly degrading the group, members of the insurgent group has continued to carry out intermittent isolated bomb and gun attacks which has continued to claim scores of lives across the North East.
On the other hand, the military has been active battling various forms of criminalities, include oil theft, militancy, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping in the economic strategic South south part of Nigeria since the 90s.