By Emeka MAMAH, Kaduna
As Nigerians march towards the 2011 general elections, President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the Military to be prepared to aid civil authorities just as he said that, â€œThe greatest dangers to our democracy and freedom are shrouded in the perils of ethnicity and religious intolerance.â€
Jonathan spoke through the Vice President, Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo yesterday during the graduation ceremony of 156 senior military officers under Course 32 from the Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna state.
Out of the 156 officers, eight are from neighboring countries including Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Togo and Ghana.
Jonathan said that although â€œthe challenges of maintaining peace and security remain that of the police, however, the Armed Forces must be vigilant and alert to support and aid the civil authoritiesâ€ during the next elections just as they did to bring the volatile situation in the Niger Delta under control under a programme initiated by the late President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua.
The presidentâ€™s speech is coming against the backdrop of threats by some prominent Nigerians about possible crises in the country if the President contests the 2011 election.
He promised that the Federal Government would â€œcontinue along the path to take necessary measures to ensure speedy infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region so as to create room for speedy restoration of normalcyâ€ in the country.
â€œAs a complimentary step to such measures, the Armed Forces should continue to guard against the breach of our territorial integrity and safe guard any external threat to our vital national resources.
â€œAs a further challenge, you are charged to effectively check the proliferation of economic saboteurs and their internal collaborators who constantly plot to deny the nation of her national resources and heritage.
â€œLet me at this juncture, implore you all to guard against all forms of human sentiments in the discharge of your duties as these could compromise the integrity and virtues of your noble profession.
â€œAs we progress into the 2011 elections, we must continue to anticipate and reflect on these ideals and remember that as members of the Armed Forces, we will be judged by our roles and the actions of our menâ€ President Jonathan said.