By PHILOMINA ATTAH
ABUJA- The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, says the Nigerian army is ever ready to stand in harm’s way to accord Nigerians the safety, security and comfort that they deserve.
Yahaya said this at the maiden Annual Command Guest House Stakeholders Conference 2022, organised by the Department of Special Services and Programmes on Thursday in Abuja.
Represented by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty, Maj.-Gen. Adekola Bakare, said that army would leave no stone unturned in building all its components of fighting power including welfare and administration of personnel.
Yahaya pledged to continue to provide leadership and guidance for the troops in the fight against perpetrators of insecurity in the country.
According to him, they are confident that with the acquisition of more equipment and platforms, army is well positioned to win the war against insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in the country.
He said the theme of the conference, “Repositioning the Nigerian Army Hospitality Endeavours for Enhanced Service Delivery,” was apt and within the set objectives of the establishment of Command Guest Houses.
The COAS said the desire to establish the guest houses was borne out of the need to provide secured, affordable and reliable accommodation as part of efforts to cater for the welfare needs of army personnel, members of the armed forces and the general public across Nigeria.
He said the facilities had in no small measure continued to offer subsidised guest accommodation, recreation and entertainment support to users and had undoubtedly achieved their set goals and objectives.
“Presently, command guest houses are located in Lagos, Abuja, Bauchi, Yola, Gusau, Maiduguri and Kaduna.
“Command Guest House Sokoto will soon come on board as work in the new facility is almost completed.
“Plans are also on to expand and establish Command Guest Houses in major cities and geopolitical zones across the country.
“Since my assumption of command, our efforts have been geared towards improving infrastructure and facilities in the various Command Guest Houses.
“For example, the renovation of Command Guest House Maiduguri was completed and handed over to operators in May 2022, while there are also plans to carry out phased renovation of Command Guest Houses in Apapa, Yola, Gusau and Kaduna.
“These gestures are aimed at improving and repositioning the service delivery requirement of these very important Nigerian army welfare facilities,” he said.
Yahaya said the need to properly coordinate and manage all army welfare investments was critical to their sustainability and maintenance.
He said the conference was convened to have an increased participation and more robust engagements with stakeholders of the guest houses.
The Chief of Special Services and Programmes, Maj.-Gen. Solomon Udounwa, said the Nigerian army had redoubled its efforts to enhance the well-being of its personnel and their families through welfare investments.
He said such investments included as the command guest houses and other ventures.
Udounwa said the department was established in January with the mandate to ensure the efficient management of the guest houses amongst other roles and responsibilities.
He said that Army Headquarters usually interacted with managements of command guest houses, though quarterly.
He said the meeting was where Stakeholders with managements, presented briefs in respect of their facilities, with a view to taking appropriate decisions to sustain their operations.
He said it had, however, been observed that the quarterly meeting did not provide a robust platform for interaction towards enhancing the performance of the guest houses due to several reasons, including limited number of participants.
“To address this gap, the department sought to increase the participation of stakeholders by proposing a more elaborate annual conference.
“It was envisaged that the conference would provide a more appropriate avenue for interaction among the managements of Command Guest Houses, stakeholders, operators and professionals in the hospitality business.
“We are excited to have representatives from all command guest houses as well as hospitality industry operators, regulators and professionals to interact and offer experience that would galvanise our zeal and interest.
He said the representatives would also provide viable options for effective and efficient service delivery to boost overall operations of the command guest houses. (NAN)