The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has tasked the Army chaplains and their assistants to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and dialogue in resolving social crises.
Buratai gave the task in Lagos on Wednesday at the annual seminar for all chaplain assistants, at the Nigerian Army Chaplain Training School, Ojo, Lagos.
The COAS, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Sanni Yusuf, said that the Nigerian Army expected more of the chaplains’ non-kinetic approach to crisis solutions.
He said: “Battles may be won with arms, but the sustenance of peace is primarily the function of deliberate peaceful dialogue.
“This is where your role comes in handy as Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants.
“I recognise the importance of your duties as religious leaders and teachers, whose job mainly is to nip seeming crises in the bud through your messages and examples of love and tolerance.
“I therefore call on you to take good advantage of this seminar and retreat to further build on the gains of your good efforts to troops and their families.
“The Nigerian Army believes in your capacity and thus demands to see more of your non-kinetic approach to crisis solution.“
He said the Army recently launched the Deradicalisation Initiative (DI), championed by the Religious Directorates of the Army in conjunction with the Directorate of Civil-Military Affairs (DCMA) to achieve sustainable peace.
“This was done with the understanding that arms may not be enough to sustain the successes we have recorded so far toward the restoration of peace.
“We all know that any good achieved through evil means is often short-lived and unsatisfying.
“This is why we launched the deradicalisation procedure in consonance with all religious tenets.”
Earlier, the Director, Chaplain Services, Brig.-Gen. Charles Iroeghu, in his address, said that the seminar was to further prepare the chaplain assistants on critical areas relating to crisis management.
He said it was also to equip the Chaplain Assistants to realise that their roles extended beyond only ministering “in our churches into critical areas relating to crises management.“
“Giving the current realities in nation, wrought recently by several incidences of displeasure, it behoves on every quarter to employ all available hands, experiences and expertise to restore normalcy in its absolute sense,“ he said.
Iroeghu said that as trained counsellors and caregivers, the message of the chaplains must seek peace and frown at every form of negativity against the Nigerian state.
He also urged the participants to see professionalism as a guiding precept to change the horrible narrative plaguing the nation.