By Colonel Sagir Musa
There seems to be no definite time for military expeditions. This is more so with the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar. His movements appear unpredictable, (even during the fasting period), and so his convoy elements are always ready at the shortest notice.
Depending on the mission, – movements could be at dawn, in the afternoon, evening or night, and what matters – is the accomplishment of the mission’s objective. Hence, those of us – component of the entourage are used to movements at odd hours and at short notice.
While the Commander 13 Brigade Calabar, Brigadier General Bulama Biu and his fortified entourage left the ‘Can an City’ (Calabar), as early as 0100 am on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, the GOC 82 Division with his followers left Enugu as early as 0400 hours same day to Abakaliki, Ebonyi en-route to 130 Battalion, Ogoja. By 0435 hours June 6, the GOC and his entourage were close to Ebonyi State University Main Gate where we were received by the Commander 13 Brigade. Thus, the about four hours trip to 130 Battalion, Godwin Ally Cantonment Ogoja has profoundly started.
Consequently, by 0800 hours, we were at the Main Gate of the Godwin Ally Cantonment in the military embrace of the Commanding Officers of 130 Battalion and 341 Artillery Regiment Lieutenant Colonels Usman Ahmad and Mohammed Idris respectively. What was interesting, was the level of preparation, the alertness and regimental disposition of troops at the Gate, Quarter Guard, Medical Reception Station (MRS) and the Gun Shades the GOC inspected in the early hours of the day.
General Abubakar used the opportunity to again inspect the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai’s Intervention Project for the Soldiers Living Accommodation. Unlike the Tuesday April 11, 2017 GOC’s visit, – the living quarters for soldiers and their families in the Cantonment are now looking modern and befitting, as the project seems to be successfully completed according to specifications. He charged soldiers and their families to maintain the structures. “You can see, the Army Headquarters is doing much to enhance your welfare. I, therefore, charged you to maintain your accommodation and any other property entrusted in your care” – General Abubakar stated.
At about 1000 hours, a detailed programme for the visit was unveiled. It was about the commissioning ceremony of some key projects exceptionally undertaken and completed by the Commanding Officer 130 Battalion. In the profession of arms, edifices like the Arms Store, Quarter Guard, Battalion Headquarters Complex, Medical Reception Station (MRS) and Worship Centres (Protestant and Catholics Churches and Mosque) are dear to commanders, because, these structures are obviously, somehow, – the ‘Unit or the ‘Battalion’ itself. They are necessary for the smooth running of a Unit or Formation. They, more or less, symbolise, define and project a Unit or a Formation. It was these important edifices the CO 130 Battalion either reconstructed or built. Specifically, he, with moral and financial support from the COAS, selflessly rehabilitated the Cantonment’s Main Gate, Quarter Guard, MRS, and the Battalion Headquarters. His efforts further resulted in the construction of a new Arms Store (for the Battalion), and the Worship Centres are equally face – lifted.
The commissioning of these vital projects and the inspection of soldiers accommodation project motivated the GOC 82 Division accompanied by the Commanders 13 and 44 Infantry and Engineers Brigades to go to Godwin Ally Cantonment Ogoja. Others in the GOC’s entourage included, the representative of the Commander Intelligence Brigade Major Titus Ige and the Assistant Director Public Relations 13 Brigade Capt Kayode Owolabi.
Additional highlights of the commissioning ceremony are the presentation of the Best Soldier of 130 Battalion Award to the winner 02NA/44/2424 Seargent Ali Adamu and the donation of a 12 V, 8.3 A gasoline generator each to the three worship centres of the Battalion.