From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief Of Army Staff(COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has described the Nigerian civil war as the most tragic incident that ever happened to the country.
Yahaya, while noting that the war which lasted about thirty months shook the foundation of the country’s national unity, said that the reconciliation that followed afterwards was the secret on which the country’s unity is still standing on.
He also noted the contribution and performance of the Nigerian army to a united, peaceful and secured Nigeria.
The COAS made this known at a media briefing to mark activities lined up for the 2021 Nigerian Army Day Celebrations(NADCEL),
Gen Yahaya, said the 2021 NADCEL would be low keyed, given the circumstances that preceded his appointment, pointed out that the celebration would afford the Nigerian army to showcase the doggedness and unwavering commitment of its personnel in the face of daunting security challenges.
He said that NADCEL, which is an annual event was first celebrated on July 6, 1978, in remembrance of that historic moment when the first shot released on 6th July, 1967 marking the commencement of the country’s 30-month Civil War.
According to him, “The event is celebrated to equally bring to the knowledge of all Nigerian Army personnel and indeed all Nigerians that the war was an unfortunate tragedy and the reconciliation afterwards should be instrumental to strengthening our national unity. In subsequent celebrations, the NA uses NADCEL as a medium to reflect on its performances in previous year for effective projections.
In doing this, lessons are being drawn from numerous operational activities of the Nigerian Army amidst daunting security challenges peculiar to each region of the country.
“This requires both doggedness, commitment, perseverance and sacrifice from all personnel of the Nigerian Army. This responsibility has no doubt become compelling particularly in view of our multifaceted security challenges. The Nigerian Army with the collective effort, cooperation and commitment of other security agencies as well as citizens have been able to live up to its expectations though with some rooms for improvement. We are also profoundly mindful of the confidence placed on us by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces president Muhammadu Buhari and indeed the citizens to defeat our adversaries and secure the territorial integrity of our dear nation. This must be achieved within the shortest possible time. ‘the Nigerian Army solicits the cooperation of law abiding citizens and shall continue to make our citizens proud”.
He said the death of the late former COAS Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, who died along ten others in the ill fated Nigerian Air Force(NAF), plane crash at Kaduna International Airport on May, 21, was still fresh in our memory, stressing this has significantly affected the scheduled activities for NADCEL 2021. He also said that the weeklong annual event lined up to commemorate NADCEL 2021 will be used to reflect on the performance of the NA and celebrate our achievements as well as project the Nigerian Army as an important symbol of national power, unity, integration and development.
He listed activities line up for the weeklong celebrations to include “Juma’at Prayers in all Nigerian Army formations and units on Friday 2 July 2021 which will be followed by Interdenominational Church Service to be held in all Nigerian Army formations and units across the nation on Sunday 4 July 2021. The NADCEL 2021 will also enable the Nigerian Army reach out to the public through its Medical Outreach Programme on Monday 5 July 2021, during which inhabitants of some selected communities around the country will benefit from a free medical services. Equally there will be Humanitarian Outreach programme to be conducted by members of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) in selected areas of FCT and environs on 5 July 2021. The NADCEL 2021 activities will culminate with a lecture and COAS Commendation Award on Tuesday 6 July 2021 at Command Officers Mess 1, Asokoro Abuja,” he said.