After spending 35 years in the Nigerian military, going round the world, partaking in civil wars, training in some of the best military training institutions in the art of warfare and tackling of any manner of security threats, be it terrorism, militancy, banditry, kidnapping, cultism and herdsmen/militia menace, servicemen and women of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force usually round off their career at the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre NAFRC, Oshodi.
The compulsory study tour to NAFRC is tied to a six months training exercise for the senior non commissioned officers, to vary into other field of economic and human endeavors other than the specialized instruments of warfare and solely military life that they are used to.
Recall that these officers have trained to become marksmen, snipers, high caliber artillery and armoured tank/weapons handling specialists, warship gunnery operators, fighter jets and helicopter gunship gunnery experts as well as intelligence strategists whose work has greatly projected the Nigerian military as a respected fighting force worldwide.
Among these officers are also communication and engineering wizards who are pioneering Nigeria’s space and cyber warfare intentions so as not be left behind in technological breakthroughs.
Consequently, they can be said to have seen it all VI’s a vis the wars of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur, South Sudan, Mali and many other trouble spots across the world.
These vastly trained NCOs have been exposed to the best working facilities, war fighting equipment and environments. Many worked at Nigeria’s Defence missions, getting exposed to the latest communication and intelligence equipment around the world and lived nice, high quality lives in the best of environments.
So after serving 35 years and scaling true the tough challenges and the various tasks like fighting Boko Haram insurgency of the last decade, the Chadian bandits crisis and the several deadly Maitasine, Kaduna, Bakassi. Tiv – Jukun, Jos and Niger Delta crisis before now, sizeable majority of the servicemen and women would have ordinarily wished to retire home, thank God that they survived with their hands, limbs, eyes, and complete selves to meet their families.
But they must cross one huddle and that is NAFRC Oshodi.
Originally, NAFRC was set up in the 1970s to cater for gallant Nigerian military personnel who sustained gunshot injuries during the Nigerian Civil War and other foreign military engagement in which they took part.
Consequently, it has catered for over 40,000 ex-servicemen and women since its inception.
However, as the world began to evolve and new challenges for ideas, modernity and improved ways of life and medicine came to the fore, NAFRC has evolved also.
Better trained, better educated and better exposed military personnel means desire for new inventions, ways of life, forward looking application of skills and self reliance for retiring military personnel.
Hence, to remain relevant in today’s global village and secure the commitment as well as ensure that the goals of the centre are met; the institution had to up its game.
This is because in the past, NAFRC had come to be associated with a sort of dumping ground, with poor environment, sub standard living conditions and archaic training infrastructure and workshops unworthy of such array of military personnel.
Therefore, many retiring senior non commissioned officers in the Nigerian armed forces have in the past dreaded going to experience a backward integrated way of life, an environment that will make them aged faster and training facilities that would make them forget the best facilities they were exposed to in their career.
While some will claim medical reasons, some will shiver at the uncondusive environment and the payment of allowances as at when due also played a factor of discouragement.
But the advent of the tenure of Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadick Liman since July 2018, as Commandant of the Armed Forces Resettlement Centre consigned mediocrity, poor accommodation, archaic workshops and uncondusive environment to history and brought a breadth of fresh air to the Centre, and improved welfare including increased allowances for servicemen and women.
Consequently, over 55 projects which he met on ground have been remodeled, renovated, equipped, and commissioned, all designed to improve the living accommodation and training environment for trainees, staff and their families at the Centre.
Furthermore, as part of activities earmarked for the combined graduation ceremony of mid-level officers course 3/2019 and trainees course 2/2019, 14 new and reconstructed projects were also inaugurated to add more flair and coziness to not only the NAFRC environment, but participants comfort and concentration.
Among the projects were a new 1, 200 capacity auditorium, fully air conditioned with adequate space for not only invited relations and family invitees during ceremonies but dignitaries comfort.
The hitherto uninspiring hospital at the Centre has been expended with building of new wards, upgrade of existing structure and purchase of new facilities including a new well equipped ambulance.
Of particular attention and praise to both senior officers and trainees of the Centre, was the remodelled, reconstructed a fully furnished accommodation for senior NCO’s, all rooms fully air conditioned and furnished to high standard which made the senior citizens feel at home.
These accommodation which hosted about 120 trainees each include the Alpha Company, the Bravo Company and the Charlie Company.
But AVM Sadick Liman did not stop there, he reconstructed a new accommodation, the Delta Company with capacity to house 220 new intakes when the need arise, thereby preparing for the future.
Personnel of the Centre especially senior military officers and the rank and file made up of soldiers Sergeants, Corporals and below whose accommodation inside the centre have been renovated, furnished and in some cases, expanded to Vanguard that they have never had it this good.
Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi who was the Special guest of honour at the graduation ceremony and commissioned the , could not hide his excitement and happiness of what he witnessed, saying he is very highly impressed with the new look NAFRC that has truly changed from a rehabilitation centre to a centre of educational excellence.
When the well paved, well tarred and interlocking structured roads, sidewalks and street lighted streets among many others are also taken into consideration, a poem by one of the graduating Cadets dedicated to Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadick Liman will aptly suffice.
Master Warrant Officer Suleiman Nuru Loddo, a member of Course 2/2019 NAFRC, wrote –
“Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, a bad experience it is, we were told by those who had been here long, long time ago.
“But walking into the Centre, we found ourselves counting luxuries and pleasures, not bad experiences as we were told by those who had been here long, long time ago.
“Its shelter is a luxury, its feeding is a great taste, and we have tested its delight of meals in variables, not bad meals as we were told by those who had been here long, long time ago.
“Its lectures are mind broadening; knowledgeable are its instructors, courage and hope they instill in all participants, not fear nor hopelessness as we were told by those who had been here long, long time ago.
“Peaceful, calm and cleanliness are the words that befit its environs, unaffected by disturbances as against what we were told by those who had been here long, long time ago.
“Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, a complete circle it is when it comes to building human resources, as against what we were told by those who had been here long, long time ago.
“An increased industrial training allowances we were given, above what we were told was given to those who had been here long, long time ago.
“On our return from industrial attachment exercise, renovations and reconstructions we encountered, transforming the residential and offices accommodation of the Centre from what we left behind not long ago.
“In God we trust, for his mercy as we pray for his blessings and his guidance on NAFRC and its leadership from the topmost to the bottommost, today, tomorrow and long time to come..