Ahead of this year’s Nigerian Army Day celebration, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, has given a detailed account on the activities of the army on its 155 years existence in the country.
Buratai also spoke on the success story of the Army as well as activities lined up ahead of the event.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the army chief said the Nigerian troops were committed to the nation’s sovereignty.
He therefore, called on every Nigerian to support activities of the Army as it’s troops were making frantic efforts to to keep this entity called Nigeria as one.
Full text of his speech below.
Let me begin by reminding us on the reason for this celebration as well as give us a brief history of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration.
The unfortunate 30-months long Nigerian Civil War was announced by a shot that was fired on the 6th of July 1967 at Garkem which is in present day Cross River State. The Nigerian Civil war was fought to keep Nigeria one and a lot of soldiers paid the supreme price in that process. The Nigerian Army Day Celebration is therefore a constant reminder of the sacrifices paid by troops most of whom as I said laid down their lives to ensure we remain united as a nation.
This celebration is also designed to array Nigerian Army personnel and equipment as well as showcase the combat capability of the Nigerian Army. Furthermore, the celebration affords us the opportunity to celebrate our evolution, achievements and also to showcase our transformational strides in the area of innovation, research and development, civil military relations and technological advances.
This is in addition to projecting the Nigerian Army as an instrument of national unity, integration and development. This year, the Nigerian Army will be marking 155 years of its existence, dating back to its inception in 1863.
We are aware of the many security challenges that have bedeviled this country in the last decade or so. However I am pleased to state that the Nigerian Army has made giant strides in this regard particularly in the last one year. Our security architecture as a country is one with a very positive outlook.
We have not only consolidated on the gains established in the fight against insurgency in the North East but have progressed to the Post stabilization phase where all efforts are geared towards ensuring displaced persons return to their biological homes which are now safe.
That is why I directed that an operation codenamed Operation LAST HOLD be conducted in the fringes of the Lake Chad waters and Northern Borno. This operation is a humanitarian one in which we seek to return the Internally Displaced Persons and also provide the much needed security and guarantee for them to return back to their economic lives of farming, fishing and trading. With the defeat of the insurgents, it is time to encourage our people to return to their ancestral home.
This year’s Army Day Celebration is quite unique as you will see the innovative, research and development and technological side of the Nigerian Army. We have carefully packaged some activities along this line which you will witness in the course of the celebration.
That is why the theme for this year’s celebration is “The Nigerian Army and National Security: A Panacea for Nigeria’s Economic Development”. We as an Army are determined more than ever before to contribute our quota to national development. This theme is also in line with my vision “to have a Professionally Responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its Constitutional Roles”.
Like I stated in the beginning, this press briefing kick starts the series of activities for this year’s celebration. Later today, Jumua’at Prayers will be held at the Prayer Ground in Maimalari Barracks here in Maiduguri and across all formations in Nigerian. Likewise, there will be an Interdenominational Church Service at the All Saints Military Church, Maimalari Barracks as well as across all formations in the country on 1 Jul 18 as part of the events for the Nigerian Army Day Celebration.
Other activities lined up for the week long celebration include the following:
- Sanitation Exercise
- Medical Outreach to be undertaken at selected locations across Borno State and other parts of the country by all Nigerian Army Formations and units between 2 – 6
- Local and International Military Equipment Manufacturers Exhibition.
- Mini Trade Fair.
- Static Display of Nigerian Army’s Equipment Capability.
- Airborne/Paratroopers Demonstration.
- Fire Power Demonstration among others.
The grand finale of the celebration will take place on Saturday 7 Jul 18 at Monguno. The President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to grace the occasion as the Special Guest of Honour on that day.
Gentlemen of the press, the Nigerian Army is continuously making sacrifices towards ensuring the unity and development of this great nation. We therefore use the occasion of this celebration to solicit for the cooperation, prayers and goodwill of all. Let us join hands to collectively build and take this nation forward.
I therefore urge us all to desist from acts that are capable of truncating the peace. We must be tolerant of one another and learn to give peace a chance. Let us also remember that no nation can develop or be economically vibrant without peace. I therefore want to use this medium to solicit with us all to be our brothers’ keeper. We assure all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is for you and will continue to work for the common good of the country while professionally carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.
The current crisis in Plateau, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara States are both induced internally and externally. So many forces are against Nigeria. The target is the corporate existence of Nigeria as a country.
The blame game along ethnic and religious fault lines is not the solution. Nigerians must unite to solve this serious challenge. The Nigerian Army is not sleeping. We are continuously exploiting all the linkages and leads towards addressing the security challenges we shall get to the roots of all the crisis militarily.
Therefore, we must be tolerant of one another and give peace a chance. let us also remember that no nation can develop or be economically vibrant without peace. I therefore want to use this medium to solicit with us all to be our brothers’ keepers. We assure all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is for you and will continue to work for the Common good of the country while professionally carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.
On this note, let me express my sincere gratitude to the media for their wonderful support to the Nigerian Army at all times. I urge you to give this year’s celebration the wide coverage and publicity it deserves. Finally, I thank you for your continued support in our efforts in the pursuit of peace, security and progress of our dear nation.