By Sumaila Ogbaje
Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahaman Dambazzau, former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Interior has said Nigeria should draw on the experiences, expertise, and skills of military veterans to address its security and development challenges.
Dambazzau made the call while speaking on the role of military veterans at the 45th Reunion and Gala Night of the 18 Regular Course Alumni of the Nigerian Defence Academy on Sunday in Abuja.
He claimed that the country has largely underutilised the veterans’ experiences, expertise, and skills.
According to him, there is a need to investigate how these categories of Nigerian citizens can contribute to addressing the country’s security challenges while also contributing to national development.
Dambazau said that the veterans have priceless traits ingrained in them by virtue of their training and experience.
“Among the values instilled in them are self-discipline, sincerity, honesty, integrity, courage, and loyalty.
“Veterans, by virtue of their esprit de corps, are also for collective ownership of problems, issues, and challenges, and have goal-oriented thinking that is invaluable in a fast-paced work environment.”
“Military veterans have a wealth of experience and diverse talents unlikely to be found in any other group and have served Nigeria while upholding the highest standards of performance in the most extraordinary situations.
“They can continue with what they know best—their warfare skills and by offering themselves to assist the country in tackling the emerging security challenges that require a military response.
“Such as counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast and the Lake Chad region.”
Dambazzau stated that the current security situation in Nigeria required all hands on deck to address, and those military veterans could be used to train service personnel, particularly in areas where there are shortages.
He added that there were skilled instructors who could provide consultancy services or serve as advisors on technical aspects of the profession.
Veterans, he claims, have other roles to play in national development aside from their military roles.
“In terms of training, core values, discipline, orderliness, organisation, and professionalism, the institution of the military stands out well above civilian institutions.
“Although the military is a provision on its own, it has civil provisions embedded in it such as medical and allied health, engineering, legal, pharmaceuticals, nursing, architecture, etcetera.
“The organisation of the military constitutes combat arms and combat support services that make it a nation of its own.
“There is no profession that trains its personnel like the military, and this is true in all aspects of national development, aside from the fact that matters of security are in the main domain of the military profession,” he said.
According to the former army chief, Nigerian military veterans must play roles in strengthening national security, both in war and conflict resolution.
He also stated that veterans should form private defence companies, similar to their counterparts in the Western world, in order to properly deploy their skills after retirement.