President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday pledged his administration’s continued political will and determination towards ridding the country of insurgency and other forms of criminalities.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, made the promise at the Grand Finale of the 2019 Nigerian Army Day Celebration and Combat Support Arms Training Week at Ikeja Cantonment Parade Ground, Lagos.
The Nigerian Army Day is an annual event held every July 6, since 1976, in honour of the Nigerian Army with the theme; ‘Professionally Responsive Soldering: A Panacea for Successful Military Operations’.
The President said that the security challenges in the country were being tacked in collaboration with the Nigerian Armed Forces.
“The challenge for us is to recognise this sick extremism of Boko Haram for what it is and form alliances across faith, ethnicities, to destroy an evil that confronts us all.
“We will continue to demonstrate the political will and determination towards ensuring that our land is rid of insurgency and that criminality is kept at the barest minimum.
“There are also other situations of insecurity in our midst, the Fulani Herder and farmer conflicts, random killings, banditry and kidnapping.
“In different parts of the country, there are challenges that the army has had to intervene in, in many occasions.
“We assure all Nigerians that these challenges are been seriously tackled by the Federal Government working with the states through a multi-pronged approach, working with the Nigerian Army and all our security forces and law enforcement agencies.
“Nobody will be allowed to maim, kill or commit other crimes and escape. It is our duty to apprehend and punish these criminals and we are doing that and we will continue to do so,” he said.
Buhari urged the judiciary to ensure timely dispensation of justice in the cases of arrested bandits.
“Several bandits’ hideouts and camps have been destroyed and hundreds of arrests have been made.
“It is now up to our Judiciary to ensure that justice is meted out, not just comprehensively, but in a timely manner,” he said.
The President said his administration would intensify efforts to bring back the remaining Chiboks girls, Leah Shuaribu and others who were still in captivity.
“We want to reassure the affected families and friends that this administration will not relent in its efforts to bring back all the remaining girls including Leah Shuaribu, who has become a postal child for the heinous activities of Boko Haram insurgency.
“We will reunite them with their families and friends by the Grace of God,” he said.
Buhari appreciated the sacrifices of the Nigerian military in ensuring safety and security in the country.
“The Nigerian Armed Forces have continued to put in their best with several others who have paid the price in order to keep us safe and secured.
“We acknowledge and appreciate these sacrifices and as a government and political leaders, we will ensure that they do not die in vain and will continue to give all the moral, material and financial support they require.
“In this our Next Level administration, we are committed to the welfare of both serving and retired members of the Armed Forces.
“I urge you to continue to discharge your duties according to the rules of engagement and in line with constitutional provisions,” he said.
He also urged Nigerians to live peacefully by choosing unity and tolerance over the impulse of sectional, vengeful or violent conduct.
In his address, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. -Gen. Tukur Buratai said that the Army Day was an opportunity to showcase the history, values, achievements and combat capacity of the Army.
Buratai pledged that the Army would continue to be ruthless to all the criminal elements that disturbed the peace and security of the country.
” We are all aware that the country is facing numerous security challenges and this has necessitated our involvement in conducting operations aimed at tackling the numerous nefarious acts of criminal elements to restore sanity to our dear country.
“Our efforts must not be relaxed until we have achieved the complete defeat of insurgency and other criminalities in the country,” he said.
Buratai thanked President Buhari, the legislature and State Governments for their support and encouragement to the Army.
Newsmen gathered that the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Awards were conferred on serving and retired officers for operational excellence, bravery, gallantry, innovative services and contributions to the development of the Nigerian Army.
Each awardee would get an N2 million cash reward.
There was also the unveiling of first indigenous Light Armoured vehicles.
Some dignitaries present at the event were the former Military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Retd), Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
Also present were Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, represented by Sen. Solomon Adeola, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu.