THE Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has declared that the present killings and blood-letting being experienced in several parts of the country particularly in states of Plateau, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara are being induced both internally and externally.
Addressing the media on the commencement of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration in Maiduguri, Buratai said, “So many forces are against Nigeria. The target is (to destroy) 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.”
Continuing, the COAS said, “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 the entire 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.”
Emphasizing the need for Nigerians ‘to be our brothers’ keepers’ the Army Chief said, “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”.
Buratai earlier stated that the annual marking of the Nigerian Army Day celebration was a reminder of the roles and sacrifices the Nigerian Army made in the unfortunate 30-month long Nigerian Civil War which was announced by a shot fired on the 6th of July 1967 at Garkem which is in present day Cross River State. He said, “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 who 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 bedevilled 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 also 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 homes. “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”.
Activities lined up for the celebration include later on Friday, Jumua’at Prayers to be held at the Prayer Ground in Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri and across all formations in Nigerian. Likewise, there will be Interdenominational Church Service at the All Saints Military Church, Maimalari Barracks as well as across all formations in the country on July 1, 2018 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 from 2nd – 6th July 2018.
The grand finale of the celebration will take place next Saturday 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.