Taoreed Lagbaja, chief of army staff (COAS), says the Nigerian army has sufficient equipment to tackle insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes.
Lagbaja spoke in Ibadan during an interactive session with media executives, as part of activities to mark the 2023 Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) and its 160th anniversary.
He said the military now relies on modern equipment to fight criminal activities.
Meanwhile, former army chiefs had called for more funding for the military to purchase weapons to fight insecurity.
“We no longer rely on 1970 or 1980 equipment to fight the battle of 2023,” Lagbaja said.
“The Nigerian army has procured various modern equipment and also has internally built ones.
“We have adequate equipment to ensure troops are ready to perform their tasks and tackle those challenges confronting Nigeria.
“We have asked research and development to build some of those equipment we used to import from abroad. If you go to our command in Kaduna, you will see what the mechanical engineers are doing.
“They are building vehicles; very soon we may be exporting some to neighbouring countries.
“We partner with foreign agencies to further train our troops when they come out from initial training at the Defence Academy Training School and Nigerian Army School in Zaria.”
Lagbaja said his predecessor did a lot on infrastructure, medicals, training, among others, adding that he would improve on the standard set.
“I will work very hard to improve on the present standard of the Nigerian army on training, education of the leadership cadre and welfare of families of both the living and the deceased,” he said.
He said the security situation in Nigeria is gradually improving.
“The situation is not as it was in 2014 to 2017, but there are still some levels of security challenges in some parts of the country,” he added.
“Our goal is to return peace and stability to all nooks and crannies of the country.”
Lagbaja added that on his watch, the army will stamp out oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger-Delta region.
“The army will focus on the situation in the Niger-Delta region, just as it will not also lose focus on what is happening in other parts of the country in line with the mandate of the current government,” he said.
He expressed concern that pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger-Delta have affected the country’s revenue generation, saying urgent steps must be taken to curb the situation.
“The president has said that the nation is bleeding from all these. The money is not just there to do what we used to do in the past,” Lagbaja said.
“Riding on the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda of the president, the Nigerian army under my watch will stamp out oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger-Delta.
“I know that people desire to go back to their farms and live normally as law-abiding Nigerians.
“We will work to defeat banditry and kidnapping in some communities.”