President Muhammadu Buhari has attributed sustained integration of Nigeria to Nigerian Army despite myriads of challenges bedeviling the country, saying united Nigeria that countrymen were proud of was made possible by officers who have continued demonstrating a high level of professionalism in the army’s operations.
He also expressed satisfaction on army’s involvement in politics since 1999 and that the defence had remained highly professional force subordinated to democratic civilian control.
Buhari, who commended the Nigerian Army for saving the country from disintegration and demonstrating a high level of professionalism in its operations, indicated sacrifices of men of Nigerian army had continue winning support and confidence of Nigerians.
The president said that there was need for the army to up its games in areas of military-civil relations and ensure it build confidence with Nigerian citizens.
Speaking on Tuesday during the Nigerian Army Day Celebration, the president who lauded the officers for their roles in protecting the country’s territorial integrity, assured them his administration and entire Nigerians deeply appreciate their sacrifices to safeguard the nation.
Buhari who was represented by Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd), urged the army to intensify its collaboration with other security agencies to discharge its constitutional roles with great success and build on the recorded gains against terrorists across Nigeria.
According to him, 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 Northeast. This joint effort no doubt has led to the decimation of some terrorists and criminal elements in our society.
“I nevertheless, charge the 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 also urge you to continue to collaborate and synergize with other security agencies in the country as well as friendly nations facing similar challenges in order to enhance your current efforts,” he said.
Buhari added through the army’s achievements, government services and private businesses have since resumed in areas hitherto controlled by terrorists and thanked other security agencies and 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.
“Distinguished guests, ladies, and Gentlemen, 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. I 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.
“I 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. I salute the courageous and gallant exploits of the personnel of the Nigerian Army. I am highly impressed with the conduct of operations that flushed out the terrorists and criminals from their strongholds,” he added.