President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday said his administration has restored Nigeria’s sanity and territorial integrity lost during the prolonged battles with the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
For this, the president commended the Armed Forces, saying they made his dream and election campaign promise of putting an end to terrorism, a reality.
He, however, tasked the nation’s security agencies to remain steadfast, urging them to “keep the pace of actions you undertook in seeing to the total defeat of insurgence in the country.”
Buhari spoke in Abuja in a live video call to Nigerian troops fighting insurgency in the North East and the international peace troops in Liberia, during the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations.
The president said he was satisfied with the successes recorded so far by the troops not only in restoring peace in the country but also on the African continent.
“With your performances, we have been able to restore the sanity and territorial integrity of Nigeria. I congratulate you, “he said.
Buhari added that his administration was impressed with the performance of the military.
The president informed the troops that government was with them in what they were doing, and that the administration would always respond to their operational needs to achieve their set goals.
Buhari had earlier led senior government officials to lay wreaths at the National Military Cenotaph in Abuja in honour of Nigerian military personnel who died in active service defending the nation.
After reviewing the guard of honour mounted by the Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce and the Nigerian Legion, the president proceeded to lay a wreath at the foot of the tomb of the ‘Unknown Soldier’ at the Military Cenotaph, opposite the Eagles Square, after Christian and Muslim prayers.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo followed suit to lay the wreath at the Cenotaph, followed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; House of Representatives Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; and the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Others at the event include Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (Rtd.); Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Mohammed Bello; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Eket-Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, also laid their wreaths.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris; the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and Cameroonian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Salahudeen; representative of widows of deceased soldiers, Mrs. Veronica Aluko; and the Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Colonel Micah Gaya (Rtd.) also laid wreaths.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, a thunderous 21-gun salute to the fallen heroes was carried out.
The Commander of the Brigade of Guards, Brig. Gen Sani, guided the President to sign the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Register and the release of white pigeons to signify peace.
The president also got a first-hand experience in a theatre command control vehicle from where he spoke to the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, its officers and men as well as the troops fighting insurgency in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He said to them: “Good morning officers and men of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, you have done Nigeria proud. I congratulate you and I thank you very much for the honour you have done to the country and to us. I wish you more success. Please, maintain the standard of efficiency. Thank you very much indeed.”
The troops on ground in Maiduguri appreciated the president with three hearty cheers, as their commander pledged to “discharge their duties to the nation faithfully.”
Buhari further spoke with the Nigerian Peace Mission troops in Liberia, and also viewed satellite images of the Nigerian Air Force surveillance over Maiduguri and neighbouring communities.
Atiku Hails Nigerian Military
Praises also came the way of the military yesterday from the former Vice President and chieftain of All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who commended its remarkable and patriotic sacrifices in the line of duty and defence of the country.
The former Vice President in a statement by his media office to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, observed that since the end of the civil war in 1970, members of the Armed Forces have not faced greater challenges than today in the face of counter-terrorism war against the Boko Haram insurgents.
Atiku said apart from sapping energy and resources, counterterrorism was one of the most stressful security duties, adding that the performance of the military was admirable and praiseworthy.
According to him, laying down one’s life for the sake of others is the highest form of sacrifices, explaining that the officers and men are driven by sheer patriotism and love of fellow citizens.
He noted that any group of people who could overcome fear for the call of duty and love of one’s country deserved the greatest honour, respect and rewards from their societies.
CAN praises FG on fight against terror, corruption
The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, has said the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration brought both positive and negative changes in the country.
Ayokunle stated this at the weekend in Abuja while preaching at the ongoing International General Workers Conference and Ordination Interview of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
Speaking on the topic: “It is not Beyond His Control,” the Clergy assured Nigerians that the untold hardship they were going through as a result of the economic recession in the country would soon be over as God would intervene in the unpleasant situation Nigerians have found themselves.
According to him: “The past year 2016 was exceptionally tough for many people and organizations because of the recession in our country, nonetheless, we are aware that Jesus is in the boat with us because God’s children are in this nation, by His grace, the storm of hardship would soon be over in this nation and we would experience great peace and abundance in this new year in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Our situation is not beyond the control of our Heavenly Father.”
He said 2016 was in deed a year of change for many Nigerians, adding that the change brought by the Buhari administration had two sides: positive and negative.
“The change really came in many ways with some positive while some were negative,” he said, listing the positive ones to include progressive/successful war against Boko Haram, recovery of some of the abducted Chibok girls, war against corruption, and rehabilitation of some roads.
Ayokunle continued: “Federal Government and our armed forces must be commended strongly for this and be encouraged to sustain the war against insurgency because in a country where there is no safety, there would be no development. Insurgents are enemies of the nation doing nobody any good except for their craziness. We would see their end in no distant time in the name of Jesus Christ.”
He commended the federal government for the war against terrorism and the recovery of some of the abducted Chibok girls, saying if the previous administration had been reasonable and apt the girls would have for long been recovered.
The CAN president said the Buhari administration’s war against corruption gladdened his heart and was a beacon of hope for the nation because corruption was a cancer that had the potential to destroy the nation and humanity unless something was deliberately done to stamp it out.
He, however, said care should be taken that the fight against corruption was not used for witch-hunt of opposition politicians and critics but rather all embracing.
Ayokunle cautioned: “Corruption and corrupt people are not limited to any political party but all. They must be fished out and be properly prosecuted according to the law of the land. The excesses or over-zealousness of the law enforcement agents leading to forceful breaking into the houses of suspects must be discontinued. We are in a democracy where due process must be followed, we are not in a military government or dictatorship.”
The cleric listed the task of the federal government must accomplish this year as ending the killings of Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen, rising wave of kidnappings, increasing youth unemployment, unpaid salaries and wages, inflation and currency devaluation.
The CAN President remarked: “The biting killings and destruction of farms by the Fulani herdsmen without much being done by the government to prosecute the perpetrators of such acts. The most recent of them was the Southern Kaduna massacre of which the majority of the dead were Christians. The response from the law enforcement agents was so lethargic that the Christian Association of Nigeria had to call for national day of mourning and prayer to seek God’s face so that the destruction might stop and to protest and let the government know that they had failed to protect their citizens.
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