•Tasks armed forces to end insecurity
By Kingsley Omonobi
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday night said he has been under intense pressure in the last few days of his administration and was earnestly looking to the next six days to exit power.
Buhari, who said he could only cope with the pressure of office, spoke at the commissioning ceremony of the Armed Forces Officers Mess and the last presidential/regimental dinner held in his honour by the Military High Command at new Mess, Asokoro in Abuja.
The President, who was almost an hour late for the dinner, apologized to invited guest, explaining that he had been “under tremendous pressure to keep up with the multitude of activities and festivities planned for the May 29 inauguration, while also meeting up with official obligations of his office.”
He said: “Please, I will like to digress a bit from the prepared speech. I apologise most sincerely for keeping you waiting for at least half an hour.
”Actually, I can hardly cope with the pressure and I’m desperately looking forward to the next six days, before saying good night at about 11pm.”
Earlier, Buhari charged the military, police, para-military, as well as other security and intelligence services not to relent in working to guarantee complete security in every area of the nation, even as he showed appreciation for the sacrifices they had already made.
“Please permit me use to this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for their unwavering loyalty, hard work, dedication and selfless service to our beloved nation.
“I’m fully aware of all your sacrifices and commitment in tackling the various security challenges and your contributions to the successful elections in our country.
“However, until the issue of insecurity is surmounted, much more is still desired from the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
“Consequently, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the other security agencies must always remain resolute in the face of the country’s security challenges.
“In this vein, our administration, though winding down soon, will never relent in providing the needed support to the military to enable them effectively carry out their constitutional responsibilities.
“Let me now thank the chief host, the Chief of Defense Staff, Minister of Defense, service chiefs and heads of other security agencies at this event, for your dedicated service to the nation. I commend you and thank our esteemed guests for coming to this historic occasion.
“Let me now pray for the repose of the souls of our fallen heroes. Their ultimate sacrifice will never be in vain. May the Almighty God continue to grant them eternal rest,” he said.
Decked in Nigerian Airforce Mess Kit with the rank of Marshall of the fleet (5-star-general), Buhari was flanked on the high table by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and his wife, Vickie Anwuli Irabor, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, and Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi.
The National Security Adviser, Major Gen Babagana Mongonu, retd, service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, NDLEA chairman, Brig Gen Buba Marwa, retd, Aliko Dangote, Mr. Tony Elumelu, NNPC GMD, Mr Mele Kyari were present at the dinner.
Also present were the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major Gen SA Adebayo, former Chiefs of Defence Staff, Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi, retd; Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petirin, retd; Gen Alexander Ogomudia, retd; and Gen Martin Agwai, retd.
The event was also attended by former service chiefs, including Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, retd; Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, retd; Principal Staff Officers of Defence and services headquarters, commandants of military establishments, NDA and Tri-service institutions.
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