The Nigerian Army says it has contributed immensely to the democratic process in the country through robust participation in peace support and internal security operations.
It said that it contributed by consolidating, especially in the last one year on the gains so far achieved in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and other domestic threats.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai made the remarks on Friday at a news conference to begin the 2017 Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), which holds on every July 6.
The army which came into being in 1863 is now 154 years old.
Represented by Maj.-Gen. Christopher Jemitola, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Buratai said that the 2017 event was organised to sustain the rich history, traditions and values of the army.
The theme of the celebration is; “Sustaining the Successes of the Nigerian Army in Tackling Contemporary and Emerging Security Challenges.’’
“This theme was deliberately chosen to reflect on the successes recorded by the Nigerian Army in the fight against insurgency in the North East and other forms of criminalities across the nation.
“The liberation of all parts of the country hitherto claimed by the Boko Haram terrorists and the eventual collapse of the once dreaded Sambisa forest are clear testimonies to this fact,’’ Buratai said.
He said the annual event was an opportunity for the army to take stock, assess its performances, inter-face with members of the public and set goals for the succeeding year.’’
He recalled that onJuly 6, 1967, the first shot was fired at Garkem in the present day Cross River, which commenced the unfortunate 30-month long Nigerian Civil War.
The army chief said that NADCEL constantly reminded the army of the supreme sacrifices paid by its gallant troops, as well as to showcase its contributions in keeping Nigeria united and indivisible country.
“The celebration is also aimed at protecting the Nigerian Army as an instrument of national unity, integration and development as well as highlighting the achievements, capabilities and positive image of the Nigerian Army.
At a Juma’at service to begin the event, Brig.-Gen. Shehu Mustapha, the Director of Army Islamic Affairs called on religious leaders to contribute their quota in ensuring peace in the country.
Mustapha urged them to prevail on their followers to exercise restraint in the practices of their belief and avoid extremism to reduce the incident of religious crisis.
“They must assist the army by preventing conflicts,’’ he said, noting that religious extremism causes crisis.
He also urged Nigerians of different faith to be tolerant of one another, while praying for the quick recovery of the president.
At the service, the chief of army staff, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Alkali Ahmadu, the Chief of Administration, commended officers and men of the army for their resilience in the fight against insurgency.
While urging them to be disciplined and subjective to constituted authorities, Buratai charged them to ensure that terrorists were totally defeated.
Other activities lined up for the week-long celebration include sanitation, medical outreach and photo/arts exhibition.
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Source: Vanguard News