Replicate Northeast successes in other zones, Buhari tells Service Chiefs
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Service Chiefs to replicate the successes recorded in the fight against insurgency in the Northeast in other parts of the country.
Buhari gave the charge while addressing the Passing out Parade and Commissioning Ceremony of Cadets of 69 Regular Course (Army, Navy and Air Force) of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), in Kaduna on Thursday.
The president listed comprehensive and systematic acquisitions by his administration within 7 years, describing them as unprecedented in the past 38 years of the Nigerian military.
Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s media aide, quoted the president as commending the military for the safe release of the remaining 23 victims of the March 28 Abuja-Kaduna train attack on Wednesday.
Buhari told the cadets it was an honour to serve as the Reviewing Officer of the Passing Out Parade of 69 Regular Course for the last time as ‘‘President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
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In his words, “When this Government came in 2015, we inherited a country at crossroads, with bombs going off with frightening frequency even in our cities, and we came in to confront and manage the crisis.
“This administration has since come on board and procured over 550 naval platforms, out of which 319 have been delivered, as part of the aggressive fleet recapitalisation of the Nigerian Navy.
“We have also increased the number of Nigerian Air Force platforms by more than 38% and enhanced the serviceability rate of aircraft in the NAF inventory by over 70%.
“In pursuing this same objective, the Nigerian Army has received more than 2000 units of various Armoured Fighting Vehicles, guns, and equipment. These are in addition to improved funding of the three Services along with other security and intelligence agencies.
“These comprehensive and systematic acquisitions within 7 years are not only unprecedented in the past 38 years, but they also align with our pledge to safeguard and strengthen the security architecture of our country.
“Although this is not a forum to introduce you to the military hardware you are stepping out to inherit, it is imperative to identify the magnitude and complexities of conflicts surrounding us.”
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He acknowledged that the measures so far put in place had yielded results.
The president stated that the nation remains ever grateful for the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces, saying “we must brace up for the dimensions this conflict has taken.”
On the release of the train victims held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists, the president in hailing the kinetic and non-kinetic approaches adopted by the military in tackling some of the country’s security challenges, said:
“This feat was not achieved without our military, as the interventionist Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee set up by General LEO Irabor was at the centre of the development, along with sister security agencies.
“I say Bravo to our soldiers, officers and gentlemen.”
He restated the commitment of the Armed Forces, under his command, to fulfil the promise to neutralise Boko Haram terrorism in the Northeast.
The president also pledged that the government would not relent in resettling and rehabilitating the victims of the tragedy.
He appealed to Nigerians that although successes had been recorded in the conflict inherited, especially in the Northeast, the security challenges in the country had evolved and assumed other dimensions in some areas.
“We have devised both military and non-military methods to intervene, and even rolled out an amnesty programme to rehabilitate repentant terrorists who surrendered and laid down their arms unconditionally.
“Our tasks as the guardians of the nation are to prepare for the evolving and complex security situations and make sure that no terrorists can threaten Nigeria’s sovereign integrity.
“In this regard, I have instructed the Service Chiefs to replicate the successes in the Northeast in other parts of the country, and I call on all Nigerians to continue to support our Armed Forces and security agencies,” he said.
The president, therefore, charged the military to continue the safeguard the economic and military capability of the nation and not to allow terrorists and insurgents to destroy the investments in key national infrastructure.