Nigerian army graduates 200 officers in counter-terrorism; police to get 280 000 more recruits

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The Nigerian Army School of Infantry has graduated 216 officer cadets specialising in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics as Nigeria expands its security forces to combat internal insecurity.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony last week, Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Major General Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu, said that, “what we have done is to prepare for terrorism and insurgency. If it continues in Nigeria, the gentlemen officer cadets you have just watched this afternoon will be able to offer enough expertise in containing those challenges and that is why they have been here for the past 16 weeks to train for such operations.”
“The NDA trains officers for the Armed Forces. What we have done with this group is to train army cadets who will be passing out in September and if the challenge continues, the NDA will continue to train its cadets to confront the challenge,” Onwuamaegbu said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army’s Counter Terrorist and Counter Insurgency Centre has inaugurated 500 soldiers and paramilitary personnel. The trainees number 299 soldiers and 200 Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel, according to Nigerian media. Director of the Centre, Brigadier General Tijjani Golau, said that the current security situation in Nigeria was a challenge, as evidenced by the spate of bombings and attacks across the country.

He added that once the 500 had finished training, they would be deployed to internal security duties. Training includes weapons handling, roadblocks, close quarter combat, VIP protection, targeting terrorists, and hostage rescue.

Last week the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika said that the army would be expanded to effectively counter terror attacks in Nigeria. “Several units are currently undergoing counterinsurgency and terrorism training nationwide and our force structure will further be expanded to counter growing insecurity in the country,” Ihejirika said.

In March Ihejirika said that approximately 2 000 Nigerian soldiers were being trained to deal with terrorists and other security threats. “The army believes strongly that once human capacity is developed to the required level, every other thing will fall in place.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian police force is set to expand to 650 000 members, with the planned recruitment of an additional 280 000 police officers, according to Minister of Police Affairs Captain (ret) Caleb Olubolade. He said the police currently have around 370 000 serving members but will expand in order to meet the security challenges facing Nigeria, He added that the government has supplied nine Bell helicopters for the police as well as armoured personnel carriers, bullet proof vests and small arms, which will go a long way to countering the Boko Haram insurgency.