President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Nigerian Army for its commitment to curtail activities of insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other violent criminals through its on going exercises and operations in various parts of the country.
He said while opening the virtual Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference in Abuja that the exercise SAHEL SANITY launched in the North West to rid the zone of bandits recorded successes and urged the soldiers to keep it up.
He paid tribute to soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence and security of the nation: “I have also been briefed about the tremendous successes that have been achieved by troops in the on going 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.” He told members of the armed forces to re-assess its preparedness and operational readiness in carrying out its constitutional roles.”
He reiterated his administration resolve 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.
He said he has been briefed that some of the major capabilities procured for the Army would soon be inducted into the various theatres of operations. He urged the soldiers to make judicious use of the equipment as they await the arrival of others.
He described 2020 as a challenging one, citing the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on almost every aspect of national life:
“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.
“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.”
Theme of the conference was “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.”
Cyber Warfare Command Complex commissioned
President Muhamadu Buhari has commissioned the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command Complex and Nigerian Army Command Intelligence School located at Muhammad Buhari Cantonment, Giri, Abuja. He also launched the housing scheme known as Heroes Villa, for the next of kin of personnel of the Army killed in action.
He noted that despite the negative impacts of COVID-19, the Nigerian Army performed maximally in restoring law and order as well as massive improvement in infrastructural development within its limited resources. He commended the army for the initiative saying the project would go a long way to boost troops morale and project the Army in good light:
“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 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.”
Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Salihi Magashi, promised to ensure the resources are judiciously utilised. He said: “The COAS Annual Conference 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 2020.
“In line with the mandate of the ministry 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 for usual interventions and approval of funds for the procurement of critical equipment for the armed forces.”
We’re capable of tackling insurgency –Buratai
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has reiterated the resolve of the Nigerian Army to confront security challenges bedevilling the country. He said at the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference, in Abuja, that the current crop of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian army are more than ever positioned, ready and determined to tackle the myriad of contemporary challenges in the country.
He said in 2015 when he took over, the Nigerian Army was characterised by low morale arising from the consistent and setbacks in the counter insurgency operations in the North East: “Mr President’s charge on assumption of our duty was to evolve a professional and highly motivated Nigerian Army capable of conducting the full status of military operations in the decisive manner.
“This has been largely achieved with The Nigerian Army currently well poised to tackle myriad of contemporary and numerous emerging security threats
“While this year has been quite challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am happy to note that my strategic directive from 2020 to sustain the professionalism and responsiveness of Nigerian army in the discharge of constitutional role provided a point of reference which enabled us to adopt quickly with numerous impact in our operations.”
He said the civil military relationship has improved: “All army operations are now conducted with full respect and promotion of fundamental human rights as it has become a global best practice considering the principals of laws of armed conflict.
“This was most evident in the professional conduct of troops guiding Operation Field Shield while in support of civil authorities during the large scale criminality that ensued in the wake of #EndSARS protest.
“The army will use the conference to assess its overall performance, re-evaluate and appraise its activities and efforts so far towards achieving the overall objective to better positioned the NA in facing the task in 2021 and beyond.
“As an responsive army, we are delighted to showcase to Mr. President our largest efforts as in placing the requisite capability for full status operations particularly in the cyber domain.”
Army builds houses for next of kin of fallen heroes
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has laid the foundation for the construction of Nigerian Army Smart Ville Estate at Life Camp, Abuja. The estate would provide accommodation for the next of kin of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army killed in action.
The estate according to Buratai, “is the first of its kind to be developed by the Nigerian Army under its housing development programme. It will alleviate the sufferings and accommodation problems faced by officers and soldiers after retirement.
“We are just coming from the ground breaking ceremony of the next of kin of the fallen heroes at Giri. While we are doing that, we are also taking care of the combatants who are still fighting across our country. We are also considering them retiring to comfortable homes at the end of their service.
“This is the brain behind the establishment of the post housing development limited of the Nigerian army and so far, it has done great deal in ameliorating one of the most post service challenges that officers and soldiers usually have, which is housing. The first phase is the one just launched by President Buhari, the housing scheme for the families of our fallen heroes. We are taking it further to ensure that when you retire, you also retire to your home and am happy the post housing company has taken it further; not just having a home but also having a comfortable home.”
He said the army was also concerned about the veterans as well as ex-service men and women, adding that plans were underway to develop mass housing in that regard. He said the plan was to find a place for everyone after service, irrespective of their contributions, adding that they would be able to benefit even if they were unable to fund the project before they retired:
“We will continue to do everything possible to see that the desire to have welfare of the officers and men reach them wherever they are; whether in service, whether they are fallen heroes or not, they are members of the armed forces.”