Immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah had a parting shot for the elite yesterday. He accused them of using the dreaded Boko Haram sect to advance political, religious and sectional interests.
The former military chief also regretted that the authorities toyed with the health and vitality of the military through inadequate funding.
Lt. Gen. Minimah made the scathing remarks in his valedictory address at the Pulling-Out held in commemoration of his retirement from service.
Accoung to him, the counter-insurgency campaign would have recorded more successes if the elite had supported government’s efforts.
He said: “The insurgency snowballed into a graver dimension because these people exploited the security challenge to further sectional, religious and political interests.”
The former COAS appealed to the citizenry to support the Federal Government and the security agencies in the ongoing fight against insurgency.
The ex-Army chief urged Nigerians to take practical steps against the terrorists and other criminal elements in order to ensure lasting peace and security in the country.
He went on: “In the last decade, we have seen the extent to which people who harbour evil against their fellow co-patriots can go to inflict pain and death on innocent people.
“This is the time for us to rise in unison not only to condemn but to take actions against the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal elements in order to foster peace and security in our society.
“Perhaps, if we had all stood against the terrorists at the outset through condemnation of their activities and active collaboration with the military to confront them, rather than use it as a tool to advance section, tribal, religious and political interests, we would not have been where we find ourselves today.
“We must therefore all unite and support our government and security forces to tackle the current security challenges.”
Lt. Gen Minimah regretted that the country toyed with the health and vitality of the military through inadequate funding, calling for proper funding of the military.
He appealed to the government to create the right environment for recruitment, training, equipping and kitting of military personnel in the country.
According to him, a nation can only be as strong as its military, stressing that the strength of the Armed Forces is in the fighting spirit of officers and men.
He stated that adequate welfare for troops could motivate them into making the required sacrifice in defence of their country.
The former COAS said he took over the Army at a time the security situation in the Northeast was making the citizenry to lose faith in the military.
Claiming to have left the Army better than he met it, Lt. Gen Minimah regretted what he described as decay occasioned by long period of neglect.