You have saved Nigeria from disintegration — Buhari tells Army
Speaking at the grand finale of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration at the Army Headquarters Command Officers Mess in Abuja, Buhari said, “| am highly impressed with the conduct of operations of the Nigerian Army that flushed out the terrorists and criminals from their strongholds. You have saved Nigeria from disintegration and have demonstrated a high sense of professionalism in your operations.
Represented by the Minister of Defence, Major Gen Bashir Magashi (Rtd), Buhari said, “I salute the courageous and gallant exploits of the personnel of the Nigerian Army. | want to assure you that this Government and indeed the Nigerian People deeply appreciate your noble sacrifices to safeguard our nation.
“Let me reiterate that under my watch, this government has resolved to do everything within its constitutional power to ensure the security and safety of law-abiding citizens. This is a commitment we have made and must continue to keep.
“For members of the Nigerian Army and indeed the Armed Forces, | want to assure you of my government’s commitment to your welfare. We will continue to provide you with the needed support to enhance your welfare. In the same vein, | am aware of the challenges confronting the Nigerian Army such as inadequate equipment and insufficient funds for maintenance and training as well as other logistics constraints affecting your operational efficiency.
“As you may be aware, my government has put in place a mechanism that would address these problems in phases albeit in the face of other competing national demands.
Noting that the Nigerian Army Day has remained one of the pillars which continues to give hope to the citizens in our collective aspirations to be a stable peaceful and developed democratic society, he said, “In its internal security role, the Army fought gallantly during the civil war to safeguard the unity of our dear nation and to guarantee our collective peace and security,
“I am particularly happy to note that despite the Army’s involvement in politics, it has since 1999 remained a highly professional Army subordinated to democratic civilian control. The Nigerian Army as part of the larger Armed Forces has continued to discharge its constitutional roles with great success. It is to the credit of the Army that despite the current internal security challenges, the nation’s commitments to regional and international peace and security remain unshaken”.
“1 am particularly happy to note the increasing understanding and cooperation within the military, as well as the inter-agency cooperation in the fight against the terrorists and other criminal elements in the North East.
“This jointness no doubt has led to the decimation of some terrorists and criminal elements in our society. Government services and private businesses have since resumed in areas hitherto controlled by these terrorists.
“Therefore, as we celebrate the achievements of the Nigerian Army and all security agencies, | would like to thank all well-meaning Nigerians for their support and understanding.
“This Government appreciates and commends recent efforts by individuals, community members, traditional leaders and numerous civil society organizations especially the youths that are cooperating and supporting the security agencies in exposing all agents of destruction and instability in our polity.
“As a responsible Government, we are conscious of the challenges being faced by the citizenry. | would like to assure you that these would be resolved in the shortest possible time.
“This Government is also aware that the achievements of the Nigerian Army also come with associated costs. Some soldiers have lost their lives, some have sustained injuries and a significant number have been away from their families for long periods.
” | once again send my condolences to the families of those who died in an effort to safeguard the sovereignty of our great nation. May their gentle souls rest in peace. | urge the NA to continue to abide by its ethics and ethos and to keep to its Rules of Engagement while ensuring that human rights are respected in the conduct of military operations”.
He charged officers and men of the Nigerian Army to be proactive in evolving new strategies, methods and techniques of winning the hearts and minds in the current phase of operations just as he reiterated the need for continued Collaboration and Synergy with other security agencies in the country as well as friendly nations facing similar challenges in order to enhance ‘your’ current efforts.
In his welcome address, Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya said NADCEL is important because of its role as a constant reminder of the sacrifices the NA has continued to make to keep Nigeria a united and indivisible nation.
“Additionally, while reflecting on the past, NADCEL presents an opportunity for the NA to also deliberate on its future by fine-tuning and redirecting its efforts to remain in perfect harmony with its constitutional responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria and its Constitution.
“It is against this background and in line with my vision for the NA, that the theme for this year’s celebration “A Professional and Ready Army: A Requisite for Successful Operations in a Joint Environment’’ was chosen.
“This year’s celebration is low key, due to the unfortunate and sad development that led to the death of my predecessor, the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 others in a plane mishap on Friday 21 May 2021 in Kaduna. May their souls continue to rest in perfect peace, Amen.
Continued ye said, “For the past, one month or thereabout, the Nigerian Army has been repositioning itself, as an Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in the defense of our dear nation.
“It is through our concerted efforts that the activities of insurgents, terrorist, secessionists and other violent criminal elements that threatened the very corporate existence of this country have been greatly reduced.
“As we celebrate NADCEL today, permit me to state that, the Nigerian Army has also made tremendous progress in the areas of professionalism, administration and cooperation among the sister Services and other security agencies.
“In order to sustain this drive, I will ensure that we continue to embrace military regimentation so as to strengthen our cohesion and Service discipline. It is therefore my resolve to focus among others, on the custodians of unit regimentation, customs and traditions which laid in the roles played by the Regimental Sergeant Majors in the NA.
“In recognition of this fact, I intend to provide for them, all necessary requirements that will enhance their confidence and competence in order to return them fully to the once prestigious roles and positions they occupy in the military hierarchy.
“As a first step today, therefore, I will be providing staff cars for the AHQ and AHQ Gar RSMs as a mark of more to come towards recognizing and exalting their offices. I will follow up with a similar gesture to the Divisions and Corps RSMs. It is my intent to cascade down in a similar manner to Bdes and Units RSMs.
“My aim is to return glory and fame to the erstwhile revered and exalted position of the RSMs and SNCOs in the Nigerian Army as an essential, invaluable bridge between officers and soldiers. The overall objective is to further develop and recognize the individual Nigerian Army soldier.
It may also recall that on my assumption of command while addressing principal staff officers and field commanders, I promised to promote merit, celebrate gallantry and honor our heroes. I also stated that the Nigerian Army will continue to recognize the sacrifices of such exceptional individuals.
“Therefore today, we will be honoring some of our officers and soldiers who have been outstanding in the line of duty by presenting them with the COAS Commendation Award.
“I, therefore, wish to congratulate these recipients of this year’s 2021 honors and awards. I must say that they were singled out for recognition through a rigorous and transparent process.
Ten officers and seven soldiers received the COAS commendation Awards
Present at the occasion were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Air Staff, Air Oladayo Amao, Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba and Rear Admiral Ezekobe who represented the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Maj Gen SA Adebayo.
Seven former Chief’s of Defence Staff and former Chief’s of Army Staff graced the occasion including Major Gen Alwali Kazir (rtd), General Alexander Ogomudia (rtd), Gen Martin Luther Agwai (rtd), Lt. General Bello Dambazau (rtd), Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejitika (rtd), Lt. Gen KTJ Minimah (rtd), and Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd,).
Also present were former Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen Lamidi Adeosun (Rtd), Major Gen JOS Oshanupin (Rtd)