TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has declared that the nation is passing through difficult times, saying notwithstanding that, the army has been deployed in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, for the defence of the country’s territorial integrity.
Buratai spoke at the annual June 12 lecture with the theme “National Security: Beyond Power, Politics and Passion,” organised by Rivers Unity House in Port Harcourt, Rivers.
He said that the Boko Haram terrorist group in the North East has been decimated, adding that the group does not have the capacity to make war in the country.
Lt. General Buratai noted: “The topic of the lecture, which is “Insecurity bigger than recession and a bigger threat to democracy,” is very contemporary and very relevant as we mark the first Democracy Day on June 12.
“Our dear country is passing through a difficult period of its history. The security challenges facing the nation at the moment have stretched the police and the military and in deed, other security agencies in personnel and resources.
“The Army, whose primary role is the defence of the territorial integrity of the country, is currently deployed in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, on the secondary role of ‘Aid to Civil Authority.’ This reality is by no means strange, as other great nations have passed through similar experiences in their history.
“I can assure you that the Nigerian Army is poised to live up to its constitutional responsibility by ensuring that all threats to the country’s national security is defeated at the earliest possible time.
A lot of progress has been made in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, which, hopefully is at its last stage. The main efforts have been achieved as the insurgents capacity to hold territories have been greatly degraded,” Buratai stated.
Speaking further, Buratai, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, claimed that the army has restored normalcy to the creeks of the Niger Delta, which has increased the level of socio-economic activity in the region.
“Crime such as pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, sea piracy, kidnapping have been reduced to the barest minimum. The Nigerian Army would leave no stone unturned until all these criminals are brought to justice.
Earlier, the guest lecturer and former Vice Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Eghosa Osaghae, said the Federal government should address issues that threaten security in the country, particularly poverty and unemployment.
Professor Osaghae disclosed that food and job insecurity would breed other security challenges that threaten the existence of the citizens, adding that such problems were an evidence of failed states.
He declared: “If you want to deal with insecurity, deal with hunger; if you want to deal with insecurity, provide the youths with jobs. All levels of the government must be fully at alert to perform their duties”.