From Molly Kilete, Abuja and George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The Federal Government yesterday charged members of the Armed Forces to sustain its tempo in the ongoing counter insurgency war and leave no room for the insurgents to attack innocent citizens. This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari and Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha commended the Army for sustaining anti-insurgency operations.
It has equally charged the Armed Forces to redouble its efforts to curb kidnapping, oil bunkering and attacking of oil pipeline installations currently bedeviling some parts of the country.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who made this known at the handing and taking-over ceremony of four Super Mushshak Aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), in Kaduna, however, commended the military for restoring peace in the NorthEast where he said people can move about freely. He urged them to end terrorism in the shortest possible time.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Amb. Dauda Seni, the minister said since its inception, the NAF has continued to play critical roles in the peace and stability of the nation.
He said government will continue to support the Armed Forces and the security agencies to achieve the desired results of keeping the country safe for Nigerians and foreigners to live without fear.
Noting that the aircraft would contribute to the counter-insurgency war, Dan-Ali charged the NAF to be disciplined and imbibe strict maintenance culture to justify the huge amount spent to purchase the planes.
Speaking, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, thanked the government for the gifts, saying the last time the service received such deliveries was in the 80s.
He said the new jets would impact positively on the training of pilots as over 35 trainees from the Nigerian Defence Academy would commence apprenticeship immediately.
Also speaking, his Pakistani counterpart, Sohail Ahman, said “the existing global security scenario coupled with the changing dynamics of warfare calls for enhanced partnership among nations and their Armed Forces”.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has commended the Army for its sustained fight against insurgency and militancy, saying this has led to huge successes.
He said the Army has remained critical element in Nigeria’s security architecture.
Buhari, who stated this yesterday in Owerri, the Imo state capital while opening the 2016 Army Conference said the essence of the conference is for the Army to review its operations in the last one year to enable it plan for future challenges.
The President, who was represented by the Secretary to Government of the Federation(SGF), Lawal Babacir, said his administration is committed to the training and retraining of soldiers for combats readiness because the Army is critical in the overall security of the nation.
He praised the Army and other security agencies for their sustaining the fight against terrorism and insurgency, adding that the conference would provide the avenue for the Army for it to fashion out new strategies for tackling the security challenges.
Also, Governor Okorocha applauded the Army for securing the country.
According to him, Nigerians must appreciate the officers and men who signed to defend their nation.
“We must commend them for the successes they have recorded against the Boko Haram especially as they have embarked on clearing Sambisa forest of the remnant of the insurgents. Here in Imo state the Army and other security Agencies have assisted in the internal security to ensure that the state is one of the safest in the country,” he said.