President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Nigerian Army to remain apolitical and professional in protecting democracy and defending the territorial integrity of the nation.

Buhari, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, gave the charge at the opening of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Conference 2021, on Monday in Abuja.

He said the COAS conference was an opportunity to appraise the training and operational activities for the year with a view to building on lessons learnt and prepare for 2022 activities.

Buhari urged the COAS to continue to develop the Nigerian army of the future by doing more to entrench professionalism.

He also urged commanders to ensure effective command and control of personnel and equipment in their formations for optimal performance in the field.

According to him, the army is a key element of any nation’s power and vital tool required to protect its territorial integrity and  project its foreign policy.

“I have no doubt that the renewed emphasis on high standard of training and discipline, adhering to military values, effective command and control, servant to rule of law and excellent civil-military relations will enable the Nigerian arm to function effectively to bring glory to our father land.

“Therefore, as the army of our great nation, your role in securing the nation is paramount.

“While performing your constitutional roles, I urge you to remain apolitical and continue to operate within the framework of the principles of fundamental human right and the law of armed conflicts,” he said.

The president said his government was committed to providing needed equipment, training and motivation for the military.

He added that the government would continue to equip the armed forces to perform their constitutional roles.

Buhari disclosed the the government was in talks with friendly nations to equip the military optimally and enhance their effectiveness in various operations.

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According to him, the war against terrorism and insurgency is intelligence driven, requiring gathering of information and processing it into actionable intelligence for the conduct of operations.

“It also needs cooperation and synergy of effort by all the security agencies.

“I therefore charge you to do more in your information gathering effort and the level of synergy among intelligence operations in order to comprehensively defeat all forms of insurgency and terrorism in our country within the shortest possible time.

“I am aware of the successes so far achieved in the Northeast operations as well as all other operational theatres, following of course, the increase surrendering of some of the insurgents that we have witnessed in the past few months.

“You must therefore maintain the tempo to ensure that more of these insurgents continue to surrender until normalcy is fully restored in the region,” Buhari added.

The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, expressed optimistm that the conference would generate new strategies toward enhancing stability and charting a better course for the Nigerian army in 2022.

Magashi, who was represented by the Director Army, Ministry of Defence, Mr Sunday Attah, said the ministry was committed to the drive to achieve ‘jointness’ among the three services in conducting operations.

He commended the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs for putting in place measures to achieve greater joint synergy among the services in the ongoing operations across the country.

According to him, more synergy is still required to ensure that all operations on the ground reflect that ‘jointness’ in all ramifications for greater successes.

“I am bold to say that due to the doggedness of the officers and soldiers of the armed forces and the army in particular, peace is gradually being restored to all the troubled areas in the country.

“I therefore, want to implore you all to continue decimating the bandits, terrorists and insurgents within our country,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chief of Defence Staff, on behalf of President Buhari, inaugurated several locally fabricated platforms by the Defence Industries Cooperation of Nigeria (DICON), among others. (NAN)

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