By Philomina Attah
The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) on Wednesday accredited 13 Foreign Defence Advisers and Attaches posted to Nigeria by their respective nations.
The Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), Maj.-Gen. Samuel Adebayo, said the accreditation placed a stamp of authority and approval on their posting to Nigeria.
Adebayo, while congratulating them said the agency looked forward to a mutually rewarding engagement with them.
He said that the DIA remained the link between the defence attaches and advisers with the Nigerian government and its agencies, institutions, ministries and departments.
The CDI reiterated that all written communications on official matters from the attaches were expected to pass through the DIA to facilitate further action, as appropriate.
“Let me state for emphasis that you are not allowed to communicate directly with the Ministry of Defence and other components of the government of Nigeria enumerated earlier.
“Although many of you have been around and have met with me in the course of your duty or at social events, this accreditation ceremony has further placed a stamp of authority and approval on your posting as defence attaches and advisers accredited to Nigeria.
“Be rest assured that the Agency will be at your service to address any concerns in the course of your official duties,” he added.
Adebayo said that the Nigerian government through the armed forces and other security agencies would leave no stone unturned to improve the security situation in the country, in spite of numerous challenges.
According to him, efforts of the government are beginning to pay off.
“In the last couple of weeks also, you must have heard the results of some of our operations in the various parts of the country, especially in the North East, North West and North Central.
“This is aimed at restoring normalcy, safety and security in these regions.
“These are testaments to the fact that the military is poised to sustain this onslaught against all terrorists as enemy of Nigeria until our objective is achieved, which is a safe, secure, prosperous and united Nigeria,” he added.
The Director, Foreign Liaison, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, said the accreditation marked the final phase in the procedures for foreign defence attachés and advisers posted to Nigeria.
Buba said the 13 attachés and advisers were from Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Russia, Senegal, United Kingdom, United States and Zambia.
“It is worthy of note to state that since the arrival of these foreign defence advisers and attachés in Nigeria they have been permitted to carry out low level activities.
“However, with the accreditation ceremony holding today, they have official endorsement to conduct their affairs within the country in line with the provided guidelines.
“For the defense attachés, in doing your work while here in Nigeria, be rest assured like I always said to you that we are here for you.
“Whatever challenges that you face, feel free to come to us and we will make sure that we make it hitch free for you,’’ he said.
In an interview with newsmen, the Defence Adviser for the United States, Col. William Schaum, said it was a privilege and honour to receive his accreditation.
Schaum pledged to work with Nigeria to advance the mutual interests of both countries and enhance their partnership to make Nigeria and Africa a better place.
On his part, the Indian Defence Adviser, Col. Romi Lega, said Nigeria and India have had long standing diplomatic relations, as India was the first to establish an embassy in Nigeria even before independence in 1960.
Laga said the defense cooperation aspect had also been engaging, adding that India had established both the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna as well as the Naval Academy in Port Harcourt in the 1960s.
According to him, the first Commandant of the NDA was an Indian Army Officer, Brig. Verma.
“So we have continued with this legacy of our assistance to the Nigerian armed forces as per the requirements of the Nigerian armed forces.
“ We are presently also training almost 150 officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces in India every year.
“And we presently have a training team of five officers from India which is in Jaji in the Infantry School, training and imparting the Nigerian army officers in counter insurgency.
“So anything which is required by the Nigerian Armed Forces, India is always willing to provide,’’ he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Benson Iziama/Maharazu Ahmed