By Sumaila Ogbaje
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to sustain the ongoing modernisation of the Nigerian Army through the activation of its aviation to address current security challenges in the country.
Buhari gave the assurance at the opening of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference 2022 with the theme: “Building a Professional Nigerian Army for the 21st Century Security Environment” in Sokoto.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Buhari said that deliberate efforts had been made to fast-track the take off of Nigerian Army Aviation through the acquisition of requisite platforms as proposed in the 2023 budget.
He reiterated his confidence in the army and other security services to defend Nigeria through the implementation of the presidential directives.
The president said the army would continue to be the catalyst of national development through provision of support to civil authority as an element of national power.
According to him, the Federal Government will continue to maintain robust policies towards modernization of the Nigerian army and the Armed Forces of Nigeria in general.
The president said that the ongoing process of modernisation of the armed forces had improved its capacity and combat efficiency to discharge its constitutional roles.
He commended the Service Chiefs and heads of other security agencies for improved synergy in accomplishing his directives.
He added that the renewed vigour in operations and improved Civil Military co-operation would enable the nation achieve the desired national security objectives.
He urged the army to consolidate on its achievements through the sustenance of offensive against terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
The president assured that government would continue to cater for the families of deceased personnel who paid the supreme price in defence of Nigeria, through provision of welfare schemes and educational scholarship programmes.
In his goodwill message, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State commended the efforts of the army and other security agencies toward ensuring peace and security in the state.
Tambuwal also lauded their resolve and collective contribution to the improved security in North West and other regions.
The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, stated that the army had contributed immensely towards combating insecurity in the country.
Magashi urged commanders to take advantage of the conference to proffer practicable solutions to the security challenges confronting the country.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, said the conference was taking place at a time the army received tremendous support from Mr President, which had boosted the capability of the army and the entire military.
Yahaya said that 2022 had been eventful for the army, particularly in all theatres of operations, where successes were recorded.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of Nigerian Army Recognition Award to some eminent Nigerians, who had been supportive to the Nigerian army in the areas of health care, education, infrastructure and economic empowerment of widows and orphans.
Those who received the awards are Alhaji Abdul-Samad Ishiaku Rabiu, Chairman, BUA Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Dangote Group, retired Col. Hameed Ali, Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, Dr Jim Ovia, Chairman Zenith Bank and Tony Elumelu, Founder Tony Foundation.
The former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, also received the award.