LUCKY Irabor, chief of defence staff, says the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna is like every other school and the military did not see any need to intensify security around it.
The academy was attacked by bandits in August, resulting in the abduction of one officer and the deaths of two others.
The incident elicited concern from Nigerians over the ability of the military to effectively defend the country.
He said the incident does not cast doubt on the ability of the military to defend the country.
“Have we not been under attack? That an attack happened at the NDA does not imply that we are not under attack on a daily basis. Do you know how many of the attacks that we have had to ward off?” Irabor asked.
“The troops in the frontline, the terrorist elements, who are they attacking? Even in the south-east, who have they attacked? –police and military. The attack on the NDA is what I would likely describe as an armed robbery attack of any unsuspecting individual.
“In any case, that is a training institution. That it is called Nigeria Defence Academy or military academy does not mean that it is not the same as any other school.
“Of course, I was embarrassed that we did not foresee such a threat. NDA is not a place we think that we should fortify to such a level that the liberty that is required to be able to emplace the level of leadership, learning and skills are lost. That is a lesson that we have factored but that does not in any way dampen the preparedness of the armed forces to do defend the nation.”
Speaking further, Irabor said claims that the military presence in the south-east has increased are false.
“The situation in the south-east is not exactly what the narrative out there is. Of course, the military is present like in every other part of the country even before the escalation of violence. We’ve always had different formations and establishments of the military in the region,” he said.
“When you hear that military has increased in the south-east, we say no, you’re wrong, we’ve always been there. We even have less number in the sense that the number of armed personnel whom we have had to move to reinforce the north-east and some part of north-west.” ■