By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Roman Catholic Nigerian Army Chaplains have been charged to intensify prayers for security personnel particularly troops combating terrorism in North East Nigeria.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai gave the charged in his keynote address while declaring open the Nigerian Army Directorate of Chaplains Services of Roman Catholic Training Week, Conference and Retreat 2017 at Maimalari Cantonment Officers Mess, Maiduguri on Tuesday.
Represented by the Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, the COAS urged the Catholic Chaplain Services and other religious bodies to devise means of keeping and encouraging families left behind by the troops fighting Boko Haram Terrorists in the battlefield.
He also commended the choice of the location of the Conference with theme “Together in the Battlefield: The Effectiveness of Multi-Faith Collaboration in Combating Terrorism” as very apt and timely, considering the fact that Borno and other North Eastern States have been engaged in a battle against insurgency for long.
Earlier in is welcome address, the Catholic Director of Nigerian Army Chaplain Services, Brigadier General Very Reverend Father Charles Iroegbu identified Soft Power as a technique used by religious Directorates in winning the heart and mind of the people rather than relying solely on Hard Power that involves the physical use of force of arms in combating terrorism.
According to him, the hosting of the Conference and Retreat in Maiduguri, is to bring the presence of God by prayer intercession and to also add spiritual impetus to the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists by way of encouraging the troops.
The week long Training Week/Conference and Retreat 2017 kick started with an Opening Mass officiated by Archbishop of Maiduguri Diocese, His Lordship, Bishop Oliver Daoeme as a prelude for the Conference.
Lectures and papers that borders on Religion, Inter-Faith Relationship, The Role of Chaplain and Imams in Combating Extreme Radicalism, Terrorism and Injustice in Nigeria were delivered by erudite Catholic Clergy’s Reverend Father John Bakeni and Bishop Naga Williams Mohammed who is also the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) respectively.
Present at the occasion were the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, Borno State Commissioner for Religious Affairs, represented by Alhaji Mustapha and Chaplains from all the various formations and units of the Nigerian Army among-st other invited guests.