The newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin has stated his readiness to provide new strategic and operational direction in the prosecution of the fight against terror in the country. The CDS gave this hint in the inaugural address he delivered at the handing and taking over ceremony between him and the out gone Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh (rtd) at the Defence Headquarters, Tuesday.
According to him, “A lot has been done in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North East; in furtherance of the successes so far achieved, we will look at ways to strengthen the existing arrangement as well as provide new strategic direction. We will set specific timelines and milestones to be achieved; look at gaps in the ongoing efforts and do all that are needful, with the support of government, to address these gaps especially in the areas of actionable intelligence, logistics, communication and other critical equipment”.
He noted the imperative of collaborating with other security agencies, especially in the areas of intelligence gathering and promised to improve on such invaluable collaborations. “We must explore every available means to obtain real-time and actionable intelligence in all our operations”, he assured while promising to strengthen the newly established Military Command Control Centre with necessary personnel and equipment for greater coordination of the North East operation, in line with Presidential directives.
The new CDS also vowed to strengthen, provide support and direction to achieve greater success in curbing oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in Nigerian water ways. Similar initiatives, according to him, will be extended to deal with the spate of armed banditry and other criminal activities within the country.
He lauded the achievements of his predecessor, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, and thanked him for the untiring effort at improving the operational efficiency of the Nigerian Armed Forces and promised consolidate on his monumental legacies.
Earlier in his valedictory address, the former CDS thanked members of the Nigerian military and Nigerians in general for all the support and encouragement he received from them during his time as Nigeria’s 15th Chief of Defence Staff.
He specifically extended his appreciation to the former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, for the confidence he reposed in him by appointing him as the CDS. He also thanked President Muhammad Buhari for also giving him the opportunity to serve under him for about six weeks. Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin was appointed as the 16th Chief of Defence Staff of Nigeria on the 13th July, 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.