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Major Gen Sarham, new NDA Commandant proclaims, “I am declaring a war against indiscipline on Cadets/Academia”

New Commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy, Major General Jamil Sarham has declared a war in indiscipline on Cadets, Academia and all military and civilian personnel under his jurisdiction noting the he hates indiscipline in all ramifications.

Speaking at his maiden meeting with the Faculty, Instructors and Cadets of the institution on Friday November 29 2019, the new Commandant lamented what he described as the deteriorating state of things in NDA especially as regards discipline, outside interference, moral decadence and others.

Major General Sarham said, ” NDA which is renowned as a factory to manufacture future military leaders, will be failing in its mandate if the prevailing level of indiscipline and morale decadence is allowed to continue

“I expect everyone under my jurisdiction, especially the Cadets we are moulding to toe the line. If as a cadet you are not willing to live under NDA rules and regulations then you better leave. There is no place for you in this Academy and I mean business.

‘The culture of impunity or a slap on the wrist for Cadets that have committed serious offences must be replaced by a culture where only those Cadets who abide by the rules graduate.

Sarham who is the 29th Commandant after the recent retirement of Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, the 28th Commandant, listed several instances of indiscipline including sexual misconduct, absence without official leave, examination malpractices, abuse and unnecessary parental interventions thus constituting nuisance to the Academy.

In this regard, he said he will be “unforgiving” in clearing the Academy of the bad eggs and restore it to its former glory.

His words, “Let me tell you my stand on discipline: I hate indiscipline. As a product of this same illustrious Academy, I would be tone deaf if I say I am not aware of some of the unsavoury things currently going on in NDA today.

“Things like cadets going on AWOL and re-jabbed, Cadets engaging in examination malpractices, sexual misconduct, substance abuse, cadets fighting and disrespecting officers and parents interfering in disciplinary or academic issues.

“Such happenings, hitherto unheard of in the Academy, simply show that we must take a step back and ask ourselves, if really, we are developing the next crop of Nigeria’s military leaders in a manner that drives the importance of good character and discipline.

“We will be unforgiving for any dangerous and destructive behaviour from any cadet.

“An undisciplined cadet who presents a serious danger to self or others, or who substantially disrupts the learning environment, will be withdrawn.

“We may also engage in random drug testing to

“My red line as Commandant, will be cadets who exhibit indiscipline and who do not treat my military and academic staff with respect and dignity. Such cadets will have a very short stay in NDA.

“We have rules, and I will demand that each and every cadet abides by those rules. My staff and I, will accept nothing less than a wholehearted devotion to turning out officers who are worthy of being called NDA graduates as well as officers and gentlemen.

“The privilege to call yourself NDA officer- cadets and later NDA graduates must be earned —because it is not a title simply given.”

“For those who might have forgotten, Sarham volunteered to remind them what is the mission of NDA is.

‘Providing the answer, he said: “NDA’s mission is to educate, train and inspire the officer cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honour, Discipline and Country, and fully prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as officers in the AFN.

“Under my watch, NDA founded 55 year ago, will remain true to this mission to produce educated and honourable men and women, by providing them with military training and the studies of a full first degree, with emphasis placed on the qualities of discipline, honour, integrity, and responsibility”.

He said it has become abundantly clear that recruiting and training quality Cadets who can balance the four aspects of NDA training, is a vital prerequisite to the success of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) while reminding that the four aspects of NDA training are: military, academic, moral and discipline.

He noted that it is the responsibility of the military and academic faculty of the Academy, to detect mistakes, to attempt to correct them and to provide fair punishment including dismissal and withdrawal for cadets who do not respond to correction.

“You should correct those who are amenable to correction and weed out those you find incorrigible, those who refuse to imbibe the qualities of the officer-scholar.

“If you succeed in so doing, you would have made a great contribution to a foundation upon which the cadets of today can build for tomorrow.

“If you allow any sub-standard product to graduate, for whatever reason, you would have betrayed our trust, you would not have done your duty and possibly with disastrous consequences for our dear country later.

“This academy is a factory to manufacture future military leaders. And in this factory, you the military and academic staff are Quality Control. I want you to remember that as you continue to do the wonderful job you are currently doing in moulding these Cadets.”

“But as the saying goes, many will be called, but few will be chosen.

“To succeed at NDA, you must forge a strong academic foundation and military discipline, because a disciplined life, academic success, physical fitness, moral rectitude, and an aptitude for leadership and responsibility will be the framework for future success as an officer.

“Our eyes will be upon you, to make sure that no sub-standard product escapes through the cracks.

“Should we find any of the necessary qualities of an officer and a gentleman missing in you, make no mistake about it, you will not graduate.”

“So now, just so that we are all clear and there is no ambiguity, what are my expectations in terms of cadet conduct?

“Strict military discipline should guide your every action during your time not only at NDA, but in every facet of your life, I expect cadets to conduct themselves as men and women of character at all times.

“Exemplary conduct both at, and away from the Academy reflects credit on the cadet, the Academy and the AFN.

“Conduct unbecoming of a Cadet is any behaviour which compromises, or can reasonably be expected to compromise, the character of the Cadet, or the name and reputation of the Academy.

“Unacceptable conduct of a Cadet may result in dismissal or other disciplinary action on a case-by case basis.”

Sarham also had some words of caution to the parents who have made it a habit of interfering with the disciplinary decisions of NDA leadership.

He said: “With respect, during my tenure, as it used to be in the days of yore, no parent will be allowed to interfere in the well tried and well tested NDA disciplinary process involving any Cadet – A process that has seen NDA for 55 years producing quality products.

“It is the Cadet that should endeavour to rise to the well-known NDA standards but the academy will not lower its standards to subsidize any cadet’s misbehaviour.

“Each reported case of indiscipline will be treated objectively and with professional detachment and the appropriate sanction meted.

“The NDA Code of Conduct outlines the regulations governing the life of cadets in NDA and their parents to the complexities of military life. Parents must understand that compliance with the NDA Code is a condition of remaining a cadet.

“To the parents, I say, while we prepare your son or daughter to join the ranks of the prestigious officers of the AFN, please keep in mind that NDA is an Academy of personal experience, and each Cadet is responsible for navigating much of it on his or her own.

“I assure the parents of the cadets that NDA will do more than just take care of them, we will mould them to become disciplined military leaders, and equip them with the skills that are vital for their long-term success.

“What we will not do however, is to lower NDA age – old standards to allow undisciplined cadets to escape through the cracks. I will also resist any attempt to interfere in purely disciplinary matters or attempts to put my staff under any pressure over cadet matters.”

“While I am excited to have the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and help the process move forward, as the new Commandant of this Academy, let me proclaim this: I am declaring a war on indiscipline.

“I expect everyone under my jurisdiction, especially the Cadets we are moulding to toe the line. If as a cadet you are not willing to live under NDA rules and regulations then you better leave. There is no place for you in this Academy and I mean business.

‘The culture of impunity or a slap on the wrist for Cadets that have committed serious offences must be replaced by a culture where only those Cadets who abide by the rules graduate.

“Nobody’s hard work will be used to subsidize another person’s incompetence.

“Military discipline is what stands this academy’s products apart from those of conventional universities.

“By God’s grace it will not be under my tenure that substandard undisciplined Cadets will graduate.”


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