President Muhammadu Buhari has praised the Nigerian Army for its efforts against insecurity across the country while pledging to improve personnel welfare for every military personnel and their families.
The President said this during an opening speech delivered at the Chief of Army Staff Conference in Kaduna on Tuesday.
“I am highly impressed with the conduct of operations that continue to flush out the terrorists from their enclaves,” President Buhari said. “I ask you to sustain these great efforts.”
However, he noted that his government was “aware of some of the challenges” particularly in the area of training, manpower, barracks infrastructure and healthcare for armed forces personnel and their families.
He stressed that the federal government is committed to the armed forces’ welfare.
“Let me again reiterate our government’s resolve to do everything within its constitutional power to ensure the security and safety of law-abiding citizens,” he said. “This is a commitment we have made and will continue to keep.”
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd); Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashil were all present during Buhari’s speech at the conference.
The conference is an end-of-the-year opportunity for the army to evaluate its activities for 2019 and develop strategies for its 2020 activities.
This year’s theme is “Application of the Cutting Edge of the Nigerian Army in Tackling Contemporary Security Challenges.”
In his speech, President Buhari also commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Gen. Tukur Buratai, “on his efforts to transform the Nigerian army.”
“He has keyed into the federal government’s change agenda,” Buhari said. “I particularly commend his thrust in the critical areas such as the innovative and inventive approach to produce military hardware, infrastructural development, restructuring and reorganisation, among others, with significant results.
“This government will continue to support the army to sustain these laudable initiatives aimed at repositioning you to deal with contemporary security challenges and to achieve a modern army of the future.”
In a statement by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, General Buratai expressed confidence in the peace process as an opportunity for the unrepentant bandits to lay down their arms and key into the peace process.
He used the opportunity to call on the bandits to hand over their weapons; otherwise, they will be faced with aggressive and offensive operations.
The Army chief who recently paid a visit to troops fighting bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and armed robbers in 1 Brigade Area of Responsibility charged them to decisively deal with unrepentant criminals.
The meeting held a day after Channels Television reported that at least 20 soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole were missing while the bodies of nine others were recovered in Gudumbali town.
The soldiers were said to have been ambushed by the insurgents at a Granda village, engaging them overnight from Monday until the early hours of Tuesday this week.
Despite the recent attacks in parts of the North-East, Buratai insisted that the insurgents were criminals and called for the support of Nigerians to wipe them from the region.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, read out the declaration of the army chief to waiting journalists at the end of the meeting.
He backed the new position of the army with the fact that the criminals “no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than the quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.”
Musa, however, said the force was worried about what he called the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the “erstwhile Boko Haram terrorist group” by some individuals.
The worrisome development, according to him, has further boosted the image of the criminal gang as referring to the criminals as Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria amounts to encouraging terrorism.
The army spokesman called on Nigerians not to glorify them by calling them by any name other than criminals, rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers, and murderers.
Read the full statement issued by Musa below:
The Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has noted with great concern the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the erstwhile Boko Haram terrorist group by some people.
This worrisome development has further boosted the image of the criminal gang thus assuming larger than life status. He made the plea while visiting troops in the North East.
He, therefore, pointed out that it is wrong for any person to eulogise or support murderers, bandits and armed robbers that the known Boko Haram terrorist group has turned into.
Consequently, referring to such gang of criminals, bandits, insurgents such as Boko Haram Terrorists Group, JAS or ISWAP in Nigeria could amount to supporting or encouraging terrorism.
The Chief of Army Staff said that it is also important to note that the mode of operation of these elements, is pure criminality for personal gains.
It is common knowledge that the criminals no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.
He pleaded that as peace loving people, Nigerians should not be glorifying these criminals by calling them by any name other than “criminals,” “rapists,” “kidnappers”, “armed robbers” and “murderers.”
Unfortunately, many Nigerians are not aware that giving prominence to the criminal activities of the terrorist group through sensational headlines and fake news in both electronic and print media could also amount to tacit support to terrorism which violates the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.
It is, therefore, important that all Nigerians rally round our gallant troops as they fight these criminals.
All should know that the support to the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the counter terrorism efforts would boost their morale and it will be highly appreciated.
The Nigerian Army is asking for the continued understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians and well-meaning people.
He further stated that all troops have been enjoined to henceforth go all out to deal decisively with these criminals.
They are nothing but bandits and armed robbers. Let’s support our military to ensure a secured Nigeria.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday celebrated the Eid-El-Kabir with recuperating troops at the 7 Division Medical Centre and Hospital Services, Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri.
He was represented at the event in Borno State by the Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Major General E. Udoh.
Buratai said the Nigerian Army had lived up to expectations and remains ahead of the threats bedeviling the country, despite some daunting challenges.
According to him, the Eid El-Kabir festival reminds the officers and soldiers of the significance of loyalty, obedience and sacrifice, even as it provides a unique opportunity for the personnel to reflect and redouble their efforts towards fulfilling their roles and justifying the confidence reposed in them by Nigerians.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, says the Nigerian Army is more determined in defeating the Boko Haram terrorists and other security challenges in parts of the country.
He gave the assurances during an interdenominational church service and Juma’at prayer organised to mark this year’s Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.
Speaking through the Brigade Commander 23 Armoured Brigade Major General Mohammed Gambo, Buratai said the Nigerian Army will continue to live up to their expectations regardless of the prevailing security challenges bedevilling the country.
“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate our determination to achieve more successes in our fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the land.
“Our efforts must not be relaxed until our mission of complete defeat of the insurgents and other criminals in the country is attained,” he said.
While recalling the theme for this year’s Army day celebration, ‘Professionally Responsive Soldiering: A Panacea for successful Military Operations,’ Buratai commended President Buhari and the National Assembly for their continuous support.
According to him, the Nigerian Army will continue to live up to their expectations regardless of the prevailing security challenges bedevilling the country.
The COAS also appealed to Nigerians to continue supporting the military in its efforts at tackling the security challenges of this country by providing useful information to law enforcement agencies in the country.
In attendance were the state governor, Umaru Fintiri, the heads of other security agencies and officers of the Brigade.
Other activities lined up to mark the Nigerian Army Day Celebration was cleaning exercise of the Jimeta market area in Yola by the soldiers.
The military also organised a medical outreach in Malkohi Village, a community hosting the IDPs in the Malkohi camp with residents turning up in their numbers to receive free medical attention.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has blamed the violence in Zamfara and other states in the north-west on aggrieved politicians who lost out in the recently conducted elections.
Buratai stated this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on the Army visited the Headquarters of the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“I want to believe and rightly so that what is going on in the northwest is a fall out of the just concluded general elections.
“There are several political interests; politicians in particular who lost in the election and because of their defeat, therefore they are trying to take revenge sponsoring some of those banditry activities and seeming conflicts between farmers and herders,” he stated.
The Army chief explained that strong evidence indicates that the attacks, including the kidnappings going on in the northwest, have political undertones.
According to him, the House Committee’s visit is an opportunity to call on the members to prevail on some of these politicians to look at national interest first before any other political or sectional interest.
“We have some strong evidence, but we are still being conscious, but the best thing is to advise these politicians who are aggrieved for no just cause and are inflicting serious injury and discomfort to individuals and the country,” he said.
Buratai’s claim comes nine days after the Nigerian Army banned the use of motorcycles in the north-western states of the country, due to the increased rate of kidnapping and banditry.
While announcing the ban in a statement, the Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said the affected states are Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger.
The Army explained that “armed bandits, criminals and kidnappers hibernate and all around where troops are conducting operations alongside other security agencies.”
The development follows ongoing military operations in the affected states code-named Exercise Harbin Kunama aimed at combating security challenges in the area.
The Nigerian Army has vowed to flush out the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east region of the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, stated this during on Tuesday when he declared open the 2019 First Quarterly Conference of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps in Jaji, Kaduna State.
He said the army would not spare any effort in ridding the region of insurgents as well as other related crimes in other parts of the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, have advised troops fighting the insurgency in the North East to be more professional and maintain a good fighting spirit.
Major General Olufemi Akinjobi, the Commander Sector 3 of the Operation Lafiya Dole gave the advice on Tuesday when he visited troops locations within Sector 3 Area of Responsibility to deliver the goodwill message of the Chief of Army Staff.
Akinjobi urged the troops to bring to bear their basic tactics training in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists.
Deputy Director of Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Tuesday, said the security operatives attached to 1 Division were on escort duty along Damaturu – Maiduguri Road when the incident occurred.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has insisted that it is obvious the Boko Haram terrorist group has been defeated.
He stated this in his Christmas message to troops, especially soldiers deployed in the fight against insurgency in the North East.
The Army chief noted that although the insurgents now resort to misinforming the public about their activities, the military has recorded a big success in its onslaught against them.
“I urge all our troops in the Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East to be very wary of Boko Haram Terrorists increasing misinformation and propaganda,” he said.
“It is evident that you have defeated the Boko Haram Terrorists. Thus, they have now resorted to employing propaganda in order to demoralise you by spreading false messages of strength and invincibility.”
Buratai asked the troops to see the terrorists as criminals and double their effort at ridding the North East of the insurgents.
According to him, the soldiers are well trained and more experienced than the terrorists and they must leverage this to completely win the war against insurgency.
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, says Boko Haram terrorists have deployed the technology of flying drones and adopting foreign fighters in attacking Nigerian soldiers.
He added that these renewed attacks by the terrorists over the last three months have forced the Nigerian military to review its counter-insurgency operations in the North-east.
“Since 2015, the Nigerian Army in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies have systematically degraded the capabilities and capacity of Boko Haram terrorists and many successes were achieved.
“However, in the last 2 – 3 months, we have noticed daring moves by the terrorists, increased use of drones against our defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks. These potent threats require us to continually review our operations,” he said.
In the statement signed on behalf by Buratai by Brigadier General for Chief of Army Staff, Sani Kukasheka Usman said on account of these incidents, the Conference had to be moved from Benin City to Maiduguri.
According to him, this is to enable the Nigerian Army leadership to get closer to the troops on the ground and to better appraise our activities, assess our performance and identify our shortcomings as an Army.
“We are also sensitive to the fact that the nation is approaching an election year and thus we must be prepared to assist in providing security for the peaceful conduct of elections.
“Accordingly, the theme for this year’s annual conference is aptly titled, “Optimizing the Operational Efficiency of the Nigerian Army Towards Safeguarding Democracy and National Security in Nigeria,” he added.
He also assured that the Nigerian Army will work in conjunction with other security agencies to provide a secure environment for peace and unity in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Army has assured Nigerians that it is working towards being self-reliant in the production of combat vehicles by the year 2025.
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, gave the assurance on Saturday at the Passing Out Parade of 77 Regular recruits intake in Zaria, Kaduna State.
He explained that the development was part of steps by the military to effectively deal with insecurity in the country.
“By this breakthrough, the Nigerian Army is poised to become self-reliant in class-B combat vehicle in 2025,” Lieutenant General Buratai said.
He also commended the commandant of the depot and his team for what he described as “the uncommon research and development feat” which led to the production of five patrol vehicles.
“It is gratifying to observe that Depot (Nigerian Army) has continued to evolve its training activities to actualise my vision of aiming a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional role.”
The Army chief was hopeful that the graduation of 3,880 recruits would address the manpower needs of the Nigerian Army.
He also asked the new soldiers to ensure that they are always in total allegiance to constituted authority.