Buhari Tasks Military To Improve Human Rights Record

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday tasked the Nigerian Army to improve on its human rights record while discharging their duties.

The president also urged the military to remain resolute in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities.

The President stated this while declaring open the 2021 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference at Army Headquarters Command Officers Mess, Asokoro, Abuja.

Represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, the President said media Operations are an important aspect of warfare that will make or mar the war efforts.

“Don’t be distracted by the actions of few persons orchestrating media reportage and fake news against the Nigerian Army and military on social media,” the president said.

He added that “As you review the activities of the year 2021 and make a projection for the year 2022, it is my desire that the focus on leveraging the gains of the operational and training activities can move Nigerian Army to New professionalism”.

He called on Nigerians to support the armed forces pointing out that, media “profession requires that every practitioner must evaluate their evidence before publication especially when reporting the current campaign against terrorism and other crimes.”

Making his address, the Minister of Defence, Major Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd) congratulated the Nigerian Army for the critical role it has played in ensuring the defence and security of our dear country Nigeria.

“This has been made possible by the visionary leadership and direction of our noble President especially in the area of addressing the security challenges in the country,” he said.

He added that, “Due to the doggedness of the officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces and the Nigerian 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.

“One major concern of the Ministry of Defence is the drive to achieve jointness and unity of effort amongst the 3 Services especially in the conduct of various ongoing operations within the country.

“It is imperative to state that the activities of Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province are being curtailed to the barest minimum in adherence to the Commander-in-Chief’s directives.

“I am confident in the capability of our Armed Forces to decimate this terrorist and this must be achieved soonest.”

He said more synergy was still required to ensure that all operations on the ground reflect that jointness in all ramifications for greater successes.

Emphasizing the need for the Armed Forces to remain professional in carrying out its constitutional roles, the minister said, “Remember that this was the oath you swore on joining the military. Accordingly, you all must shun every form of politicking in the conduct of your responsibilities and in the aid to civil authorities.

“Let me boldly state that the military has been the unifying factor of our nation since our independence and it must continue to be apolitical and non-tribal as a professional force.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Faruk Yahaya said, “It is in line with the President’s directive and my intent to rebuild the Nigerian Army into a more formidable force that I conceived the vision of having a Professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a Joint Environment in Defence of Nigeria”.

He said this vision was being realized through the monumental and immeasurable support the Nigerian Army has received from the President, which cuts across the entire spectrum of military affairs.

“The Year 2021 has been a year full of activities for the Nigerian Army. The military and indeed the Nigerian Army has witnessed enormous security challenges ranging from increased banditry activities, kidnapping for ransom, as well as Indigenous Peoples of Biafra/Eastern Security Network activities and wanton killings across the 6 geopolitical zones of the country,” he stated.

He added that notwithstanding all these challenges, the Nigerian Army continues to record remarkable successes in the protection of the country.

“As it is often said ‘maintaining the peace is more challenging than winning the war’”.

He pointed out that, “This assertion has been evident in our series of operations and campaigns to root out terrorism, insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes from our country. The Nigerian Army has continued to remain resolute in bringing the myriads of security challenges to a logical conclusion favourable to the nation.

“We are thus, gathered here today and throughout this week to evaluate and appraise our activities and efforts so far towards achieving the overall objective of better positioning the Nigerian Army to face the tasks ahead in the Year 2022 and beyond.

“The Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference holding at this time of the year makes it paramount that the performance of the Nigerian Army in the preceding quarters be appraised. This will afford the leadership of the Nigerian Army the opportunity to chart the way forward for better performance in the discharge of our constitutional roles in the Year 2022.

“The Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference this year comes along with 2 other features, first; The Nigerian Army Indigenous Research and Development Exhibition which is staged outside the Hall.

“This is in line with the Presidential Executive Order 5, of 5 Feb 21 by the President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to promote indigenous production.

“The Nigerian Army within the year also, undertook military exercises across the country to enhance the capacity of troops to tackle emerging security challenges. These exercises namely Exercise STILL WATER, Exercise GOLDEN DAWN and Exercise ENDURING PEACE which is ongoing, were designed to transmute into real-time operations to address security challenges being experienced across the country.

“The prevalent terror and insurgency in the North East of the country have been significantly curtailed by the Nigerian Army and the MNJTF in conjunction with the Nigerian Airforce and the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies. Relatedly, the security situation in the North West and North Central which hitherto was tense due to the increased activities of armed bandits among others is now relatively calm.

“The successes achieved by the NA in its operations could be attributed to constant training. It is in recognition of this essential determinant that the NA placed a high premium on training of personnel. Within the year under review, NA has organized several training exercises and courses both within and outside the country for personnel. The NA has also collaborated with foreign countries to support its training effort.

“So far, sizeable numbers of infantry and engineer personnel have been trained on counter-terrorism and counter-improvised explosive devices. Currently, we have NA personnel undergoing advanced infantry training being conducted by some of our foreign partners in-country. These pieces of training are aimed at building our capacity to tackle the evolving security challenges in the country.

“The dearth of requisite vehicles and weapon platforms to provide the needed support for operations has a negative impact on the morale of troops. To this end, I directed the Command Engineering Depot and Nigerian Army Special Vehicle Plant in conjunction with the NAEME and other stakeholders to look inwards and see how best these challenges could be tackled.”

He said within available resources, a total of 10 AFVS, 37 B vehicles and 777 small arms and light weapons, as well as 7 x 155mm artillery guns, were repaired, refurbished and remodified.

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