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President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, commended the Nigerian Army for restoring law and order across the country.
The president warned that any act of hooliganism, hidden under lawful and peaceful protests will be dealt with decisively to ensure peace and stability in the country
President Buhari gave the commendation in Abuja while virtually declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 with the theme “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles”
The President also commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts at swiftly restoring law and order in various states during the “large-scale criminality that ensued in the wake of the #EndSARS protests”.
Reiterating Government’s commitment to the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests responsibly and in accordance with the laws of the land, the President recounted that the #EndSARS protests were sadly hijacked by hooligans to cause wanton damage to lives and property in many cities across the country.
He described the year 2020 as a very challenging one, citing the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on almost every aspect of national life.
According to him, “despite this, I am pleased to note that the Army remained resolute in the discharge of its Constitutional roles and in keeping the wealth and welfare of our soldiers a priority.
”The Army’s support of Civil Authorities in the management of the COVID – 19 Pandemic is a case in point.
”Also, the peaceful elections conducted in Edo and Ondo States would not have been achieved without the high level of professionalism displayed by all security agencies, including the Army. The conference themed Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.”
The President commended the Army for its unwavering commitment towards curtailing the activities of insurgents, armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other violent criminals through ongoing exercises and operations in different parts of the country.
He noted specifically that the Exercise Sahel Sanity launched a few months ago in the North West states to rid the Katsina-Zamfara corridor of marauding bandits had recorded commendable progress.
”I have also been briefed about the tremendous successes that have been achieved by troops during the ongoing Operation FIRE BALL in the North East.
”I charge you all to sustain these efforts until the full restoration of peace and security in the nation is achieved.”
The President Buhari also used the occasion to pay tribute to men and women in uniform who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence of the nation.
”As we pray for the repose of their souls, we must strengthen our collective resolve to address those issues that will make every part of our country a safe and secure place to live and carry out our normal business,” he said.
He pledged that his administration will not relent in its efforts to take adequate care of families of fallen heroes who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the fight against insurgency and other forms of crimes across the country.
At the conference, the President launched the Housing scheme for Next of Kin of personnel of the Nigerian Army killed in action.
”It is in line with this that the Army as part of its welfare initiative and in line with the Federal Government’s housing programme is undertaking the Housing Scheme for families and next of kin of troops that were killed in action in the fight against insurgency and other criminalities in the country.
”I believe this initiative will act as a huge morale booster to the troops on the frontlines as well as project the Army in good light.
”On our part, I assure you that this administration will continue to do all within available resources to provide for your operational and welfare needs,” he said.
President Buhari said he had been briefed that some of the major capabilities procured for the Army will soon be inducted into the various theatres of operations, urging personnel ‘‘to make judicious use of these capabilities, even as we await the arrival of others currently pending shipment to the country.’’
On the choice of the theme of the annual conference, President Buhari, noted that it is only through human capacity development that any institution can attain the level of professionalism needed to effectively and efficiently carry out its Constitutional roles.
He therefore, congratulated the Army on holding this Conference at the magnificent edifice housing the Army’s Cyber Warfare Command with its state-of-the-art Cyberwarfare Operations Centre, adding that this shows that the Army is alive to the changing nature of warfare which is gradually moving into the cyber domain.
”By the same token, I commend the visionary leadership that has worked assiduously to emplace this vital capability that will fill an existing gap in our nation’s security and defence architecture.
”This and other numerous infrastructural projects that have been embarked upon in recent times by the leadership of the Army has shown good utilization of scarce national resources,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) appreciated the President for always approving funds for operations of the military in the country, assuring that all resources will be judiciously utilised.
He said the conference provides an avenue for the leadership of the Army to re-assess its preparedness and operational readiness in carrying out its Constitutional roles and evolve new strategy to tackle myriad of security threats facing the country.
He assured that the ministry under his watch will ensure judicious use of resources to enhance stability across the country.
“The COAS Annual Conference as you all know is aimed at reviewing the operational readiness of Nigerian army in the discharge of its responsibility.
I am hopeful that during the conference you will generate new strategies for enhancing stability in our country and chatting a new cause for Nigerian army in the years 2021.
“In line with the mandate of the ministry of Defence of ensuring high rate of combat readiness of the armed forces both on land, sea and air, I want to appreciate most sincerely, the president and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces for usual interventions and approval of funds for the procurement of critical equipment for the armed forces”, he stated
The Minister thanked the President for the enormous support given to the military which gave the service the requisite capabilities to tackle the numerous security threats across the country.
“Not unmindful of the present economic challenges that we are grappling with as a nation as well as the need for further critical sectors of our national life.
It is against this background that I want to assure Mr President that the ministry of Defence under my leadership has emplaced measures to ensure judicious use of resources allocated to us,” he stressed.
He reiterated that the year 2020 has been a challenging one noting that while the COVID-19 pandemic caused major destruction globally, the security challenges that threatened the safety and security of lives and properties in in Nigeria still persist.
“During the year, we continued to witness incidences of violence and criminality arising from Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, Banditry and cattle rustling in the North West, farmers-herders conflict in the North Central as well as kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery in the South.
“The armed forces of Nigeria and the Nigerian army, in particular, have been at the forefront of efforts to restore peace in the country. In this regard, I commend the effort of the Nigerian army in the North East which has led to a gradual return of internally displaced persons to their communities in furtherance of the resettlement plans of the Borno State government”.
He pledged that the Ministry would continue to work with the services to ameliorate the sufferings of the families of the deceased personnel, adding that their sacrifices were well appreciated.
He urged the services chiefs not to relent in their efforts towards the accomplishment of their assigned roles.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in his welcome remarks, noted that the Nigeria Army was well poised to confront all security challenges, which includes cyber threats.
Buratai going down memory lane recalled the state of affairs in the NA in early 2015 which was characterised by low morale arising from the consistent and setbacks in the counter-insurgency operations in the North East which the President charged service chiefs on the assumption of the duty to evolve a professional and highly motivated Nigerian army capable of conducting the full status of military operations in a decisive manner.
He said this has been largely achieved with the Nigerian army currently well poised to tackle myriad of contemporary and numerous security threats
“While this year has been quite challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has distorted many of our activities I am happy to note that my strategic directive from the year 2020 which is to sustain the professionalism and responsiveness of Nigerian army in the discharge of its constitutional role provided a point of reference which enable us to adopt quickly with numerous impact in our operations,” he added
He noted specifically that the 4 Special Forces Command has carried out impactful operations across the North Central.
Highlights of the occasion was the commissioning of Nigerian Army Warfare Command complex at the Muhammadu Buhari Cantonment Giri, foundation laying of a housing scheme for officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army killed in action and the commissioning of Nigerian Army Warfare Command intelligence school.