Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, Wednesday described the Nigerian army as a “very professional army” that would not engage in the killing of innocent citizens.
Buratai, who is speaking on the alleged killing of some #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at lekki on October 20, said as a professional army, the Nigerian Army will never operate outside the rules of engagement.
The COAS who is speaking on soldiers involvement for the first time called on Nigerians to feel free and safe in their army.
Buratai spoke when members of the House of Representatives committee on Army led by its Abdulrasaq Namdas, visited him at Army headquarters in Abuja.
Buratai, while responding to the EndSARS, banditry, kidnapping among other critical issues raised by the committee chairman, said “let me assure you and all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is a professional Army. We follow our rules of engagement. Nigerians should feel safe.
“We abide by rules of engagement and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Speaking on the rising cases of banditry and kidnapping soldiers which is now causing untold hardship on road users along the Abuja – Kaduna highway, Buratai said, “the issues of kidnapping and bandits attacks are being taken care of” noting that the Nigerian Air Force and the Army are doing a lot in this regard.
He also said the Nigerian Army was working hard to reactivate its Aviation wing to curb the security challenges in the country.
While noting that Helicopter project has reached an advance stage, Buratai said “we have acquired two helicopters from the Transmission Company of Nigeria. We have added them to our platform and they will be rehabilitated and used for research”.
He said with the myriad of security challenges bedeviling the country, it has become imperative for government to provide a Special Intervention Fund to the army for the procurement of more equipment, training and provision of accommodation and other infrastructure in military barracks.
He said “Even though the budget has been made, there may be requirement for virement of funds because of shortage of funds needed for procurement of hardware equipment especially to tackle the challenges in the North East and North West.
Continuing, Buratai, said “Procurement of platforms for the Armoured Corp also requires special intervention because with 100 per cent equipment capability, tackling insecurity will be enhanced and criminal elements wiped out.
He further disclosed that more appropriation of funding was needed to enable the army complete ongoing construction of accommodation for officers and soldiers as well as infrastructure.
He told the committee members that “We have so much dilapidation across Nigerian Army units and formations but were are taking them gradually.
Earlier, in his address, the Chairman, Abdulrasaq Namdas, who said they were at the Army headquarters to brief the army chief about their observations during their oversight visit to military formations across the country, commended Buratai, for granting them unfettered access to all the units they visited.
He said the committee witnessed tremendous improvements in the area of infrastructure, barrack rehabilitation, road Construction provision of water among other projects.