• Nigeria’s security in your hands, he tells soldiers
From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned the military and security agencies to stand firm against any form of violent separatists, saying the military would be the biggest casualty should it failed to act promptly.
“The security of the country is in the hands of God and your hands. If you don’t stand firm, you will be the biggest casualty. If Nigeria does not exist, the first to be unsecured are the security agencies because no matter how many parts Nigeria divides, nobody would take his general to come and serve in his own locality not to talk of pension and gratuity,” Buhari declared yesterday at the Maimalari Cantonment, which houses the headquarters of the counter-insurgency operation, Operation Lafiya Dole.
He said he was in Maiduguri to mark the nation’s independence with troops at the frontline battling to end Boko Haram in the North-east.
“I thought the only honor I can present to the military and law enforcement agencies and all stakeholders on this great day is to come and see those of you at the frontline. I am very pleased that the nation, responsible opinion the world over, have congratulated this government for the progress made so far, and I personally thank the governor of this state for his courage for standing firm in the midst of the crisis,” he said.
Buhari said he expected absolute loyalty from the military and all security agencies.
“Even for selfish reason, your loyalty has to be with the centre in all. I assure you that as long as I breath and legitimately participate in this system, I will make sure your rights in Nigeria will be guided jealously. I expect in return from you loyalty and loyalty is from the bottom to up from Private, Lance Corporal to Sergeant up to the Generals commanding formations and to the service chiefs, otherwise the centre will not hold and this centre is determined to hold,” he declared.
He said despite his health failure in the past six months, he has never forgotten how much the military mean to the country. He assured that resources available to the country under his leadership would be available to the security agencies to discharge their duties.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin said the decision of the president to visit troops was “very significant.”
He said it was in recognition of the services rendered by the members of the armed forces and security agencies deployed in keeping the nation strong and indivisible despite her challenges.
Gen. Olonisakin said the visit was unprecedented and would boost the morale of troops to work further.
President Buhari arrived the Maimalari Cantonment located at the outskirts of Maiduguri in a military chopper at about 11:47am. He was received by the Defence Chief, Gen Olonisakin, other service chiefs, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (Army), Air Mashal Sadiqque Abubakar (Airforce) and Rear Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas (Navy). Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima accompanied him from the airport