President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Kaduna expressed full confidence in the ability of the Nigerian Army to protect the territorial integrity of the nation, particularly in the ongoing war against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
A statement by the president’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said that Buhari vouched for the competence of the Army at the Combined Passing Out Parade of the Cadets of 67 Regular Course and Short Service Course 46 (Army) at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna.
The president, who was the Reviewing Officer, said the loyalty and patriotism of service personnel must be sustained and strengthened, appealing to all Nigerians to uphold and project the unity of the country.
He pledged that the Federal Government would increase the manpower and improve the training of the Army to meet the changing dynamics of security in the country.
Buhari said: “Despite our obvious differences, we must strive to ensure that our actions and utterances are aimed towards strengthening our democratic framework.
“We must subsume our personal and sectional interests to the overall national aspirations of unity, economic prosperity and good governance.”
Buhari noted that the nation was passing through a time of great need for cohesion, peace and unity.
He commended “the resilience and steadfastness of Armed Forces personnel for their professionalism and bravery in tackling the menace of terrorism, insurgency and armed banditry in the North East and North West zones as well as herders-farmers conflicts, kidnapping, piracy and communal clashes in other parts of our country.”
He also restated his administration’s determination to support the operations of the Armed Forces in the defence of the nation.
“Just recently, I approved the increment of manpower intake into the three services in order to cater for the deficit of personnel being experienced.
“Additionally, the Federal Government will sustain the provision of adequate modern equipment, logistics and infrastructure needed to support the operations of the Armed Forces.
“These, no doubt, will enhance the preparedness of the Armed Forces to meet contemporary security challenges, especially with innovations in the field of warfare and Information, Communications and Technology,” he added.
Buhari stressed that the Federal Government remained focused in the fight against insurgency, armed banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation.
“We remain committed to ending the security challenges bedevilling the country.
“I am confident that the training received by these cadets has adequately equipped them to face any challenges in their line of duty.
“The broad contexts to which these prospective officers will be deployed are complex, fluid and dynamic. Thus, you will have to keep pace with these ever-changing challenges.
“Gentlemen Officer Cadets, a successful completion of a rigorous and demanding task of this nature undoubtedly infuses you with a sense of self-esteem, efficacy and accomplishment.
“Furthermore, it lifts your spirit and leaves you with conviction that with commitment and dedication, you will successfully accomplish future tasks that will come your way as officers of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Let me now remind the graduating cadets of the need to be committed to the nation by taking your rightful place among your peers in the Armed Forces of our country.”
The president said that all the feats in national security were made possible by the untiring efforts of the military and other security agencies.
He, therefore, urged the graduates to join their senior colleagues in the field and contribute to the defence of the country.
“With the quality of training you have received, I am convinced that you will discharge your duties professionally and responsibly.
“I can say without ambiguity that the future holds promise for our national defence and security.”
Buhari commended the Commandant, officers and academic staff of the Nigerian Defence Academy for their dedication to duty and determination to run the course despite the peculiarities of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I note that despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy has remained focused and committed to its core mandate of training officer cadets.
“I therefore, commend the Nigerian Defence Academy Council for its steadfast performance”, noting that since its establishment in 1964, the NDA had continued to train young officers for the Armed Forces.
“I have been made to understand that the Academy, in furtherance to enriching its training curriculum, recently took cadets on a tour of frontline communities in the North East theatre of operations.
“The tour was to keep the cadets informed of the challenges of real battle scenario and to boost their combat readiness.
“As a retired General, I can say with all sense of responsibility that I am encouraged by the excellent work invested in the training of these officer cadets for service to this great nation and humanity in general,” he said.
The president said it had been a challenging year for all nations in the world because of coronavirus pandemic, adding that Nigeria recorded her index case of COVID-19 in February.
“This administration has proactively responded to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to prevent further spread and taking necessary appropriate measures.
“In addition, government has taken positive palliative measures to cushion the adverse impact of the pandemic through people-oriented policies,” he added.
Buhari also appreciated the parents and guardians of the officer cadets for taking the bold step of ensuring that their wards joined the military.