President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented that though his administration has recorded successes in the war against insecurity, challenges have evolved and assumed other dimensions in some areas, and instructed service chiefs to replicate the successes recorded in the fight against terrorism in the northeast in other parts of the country.
The president spoke at the passing out parade of 68 Regular Courses of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, in Kaduna yesterday,
“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians that, although we have recorded successes in the conflict inherited, especially in the North-East, the security challenges in the country have evolved and assumed other dimensions in some areas.”
He also declared that no group of terrorists could threaten Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called on all Nigerians to continue to support the Armed Forces and security agencies in the fight against criminality in the country.
Buhari, who spoke against the backdrop of the release of the remaining 23 hostages abducted by terrorists in the aftermath of the Kaduna-Abuja train attack on March 28, 2022, said his administration had invested heavily in infrastructure, with the rail, roads, seaports, airports, and power sector revitalised through strategic rehabilitation and reconstruction.
“Our tasks as the guardians of the nation are to prepare for the evolving and complex security situations and make sure that no terrorists can threaten Nigeria’s sovereign integrity.
“In this regard, I have instructed the service chiefs to replicate the successes in the North East in other parts of the country, and I call on all Nigerians to continue to support our Armed Forces and security agencies,” the President said.
Continuing, he added: “I came here today (yesterday), bearing the burden of a nation that counts on your valour, and to celebrate your willingness to offer yourself to serve your beloved country.
“This honour to serve as the reviewing officer of the passing out parade of 69 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy would be my last as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“What sets this academy apart is not just the primacy of discipline, but its first class training curricula designed to transform young cadets into professionals with extraordinary skill-set and knowledge to prevent, confront and neutralise the contemporary and emerging threats facing our country and West African sub-region.
“I am aware that you are perhaps the most highly-trained course since the establishment of this Academy in 1964, having completed our most methodical corporeal and academic training in line with the new capacity-building philosophy of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“You emerge in an era of expanding global security threats, and in the past seven years, we have set aside high-tech platforms and prioritised your needs to facilitate your training and commissioning”.
“When this government came in 2015, we inherited a country at crossroads, with bombs going off with frightening frequency, even in our cities and we came in to confront and manage the crisis.
“This administration has since coming on board, procured over 550 naval platforms, out of which 319 have been delivered, as a part of the aggressive fleet recapitalisation of the Nigerian Navy.
“We have also increased the number of Nigerian Air Force platforms by more than 38% and enhanced the serviceability rate of aircraft in the NAF inventory by over 70%.
“In pursuing this same objective, the Nigerian Army has received by more than 2000 units of various Armoured Fighting Vehicles, guns, and equipment. These are in addition to improved funding of the three services, along with other security and intelligence agencies.
“These comprehensive and systematic acquisitions within seven years are not only unprecedented in the past 38 years, but they also align with our pledge to safeguard and strengthen the security architecture of our country.
“Although this is not a forum to introduce you to the military hardware you are stepping out to inherit, it is imperative to identify the magnitude and complexities of conflicts surrounding us. ‘While acknowledging that our measures have yielded results and we remain ever grateful for the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces, we must brace up for the dimensions this conflict has taken.
“In our bid to fulfill our promise to neutralise Boko Haram terrorism in the North East, which had spread to other neighbouring countries when we took over, the Armed Forces liberated areas occupied by the terrorists and gave the residents a new lease of life, and our commitment to resettling and rehabilitating the victims of the tragedy has been unwavering.
“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians that, although we have recorded successes in the conflict inherited, especially in the North-East, the security challenges in the country have evolved and assumed other dimensions in some areas.
“We have devised both military and non-military methods to intervene, and even rolled out an amnesty programme to rehabilitate repentant terrorists who surrendered and laid down their arms unconditionally.
“This administration has invested heavily in infrastructure, with our rail, roads, seaports, airports, and power sector revitalised through strategic rehabilitation and reconstruction.”
“The same template has been applied in tackling the challenges in the housing, water resources, and health sectors, and, unsurprisingly, the first targets of attacks by the terrorists are our thriving infrastructure, which was intended to make life easier for Nigerians such as roads, railways and power installations.
“The necessity to protect these key national infrastructure from being vandalized and stay ahead of the enemies of the state, inspires our resolve to utilize executive orders to promote good governance.
“You must remember that the goal of the terrorists and insurgents is to destroy our reforms; yours is to safeguard the economic and military capability of the nation. Our interventions, and even where we dealt with saboteurs, were designed to prevent the collapse of the economy and revitalise the Armed Forces, and this is the legacy we are handing over to the next administration.”
“This is an important point we must acknowledge, especially as the election year draws closer. I am utterly committed to ensuring that the forthcoming elections are peaceful and transparent, and it is our collective responsibility to continue to work towards building a united and prosperous country.”