By Bashir Adefaka
A new barrack has emerged from the ashes of the old Akim Barrack of the 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Calabar, following the 36 flats residential accommodation intervention with which the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai, has transformed the place. The project was initiated by the Commander of the 13 Brigade, Brig Gen Bulama Biu.
It is naturally the expectation of any person that soldiers, who are crucial to the territorial integrity of the nation would be provided with benefiting accommodation to enable them concentrate wholeheartedly on national defence. A befitting accommodation was not the case for the residents of Akim Barrack until the emergence of the current leadership.
Akim Barracks, which were the look of a slum, has turned to an environment so gladdening to the hearts of the occupants.
The 36-flat project was commissioned by Buratai.
In his address during the commissioning ceremony, Buratai commended Biu, for working tirelessly to see that the project was realised and promised to accord priority to troops’ welfare.
In realisation of his vision “to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles”, the Army chief promised robust medical care for soldiers and their families even as stated that, last year, he directed the downward review of education cost in all Army schools.
According to a statement by Assistant Director Public Relations, 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army Calabar, Captain KO Owolabi,
“The COAS pointed out that while kitting and accommodation would continue to receive attention of his Army administration, the fight against terrorism and other criminal activities will remain top priority.”
Biu, in his welcome address, thanked Buratai for providing funds for the project and described the Army chief as “a great military leader whose passion for troops’ welfare is unprecedented.”
Commander revealed that over 200 soldiers and families had for a long time lived in dilapidated buildings.
The governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, also in his address at the occasion, commended the efforts of the COAS and Biu for providing enabling environment for their troops.
Ayade also commended the Nigerian Army for the dogged fight against terrorism and other criminality across the country and promised to build one block accommodation for the Brigade.
Meanwhile, in appreciation of the newly built 36 flats, officers and soldiers of the Akim Barrack organized a Jumat Service and Church Service in honour of Buratai.
The officers and soldiers were thankful to God and the COAS for the kind gesture.