President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday decorated the newly appointed CDS and Service Chiefs with their new ranks of General, as well as Lt. General and equivalent even as he charged them to speed up their actions in freeing the country from the current state of insecurity.
President Buhari spoke at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja where the decoration ceremony took place.
Those decorated with their new ranks are General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff and Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
President Buhari said, said, “During our four-hour security meeting, on Tuesday, I had taken the responsibility as Commander-in-Chief for you to go out into the field and secure the country.
“You have got a few weeks to do that because by the rainy season, we expect people to develop confidence and go back to the land, so that we don’t get into trouble by being away from the field and therefore unable to produce enough food for the nation.”
“For those (of you) that have been confirmed by this ceremony, the decoration, in front of your spouses, is a further confidence loudly expressed on you on behalf of the nation, to respond to the insecurity the country is in, and the nation looks up to you for rapid relief.”
Speaking through a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari assured the service chiefs of his firm support to enable them deliver on their responsibilities.
His words, “I have accepted responsibility for your actions in the field; it’s up to you to identify your competent officers irrespective of seniority and paper qualification and deploy them to make sure that we secure this country.
“We all look forward to you to perform and I as the Commander-in- Chief, I am backing you hundred per cent, and I expect you to effectively deploy your officers and men to secure the country.”
Responding on behalf of the other service chiefs, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor assured the President that they will not fail in their responsibilities as the mandate is clear.
“Nigeria will have peace again. Based on the mandate, we will address all issues, working with all other security organisations,” he said.
Addressing the media after the ceremony, General Irabor said the Nigerian Armed Forces will never in any way allow peace and security of the nation in the hands of the terrorists rather, the Armed Forces will determine the peace and will not leave it in the hands of the terrorists.
On the role of the Nigerian military in the recent negotiations that led to the release of kidnapped school children from their abductors, he said that the security agencies built bridges across various divides.
“Peace and security is not just the security of the borders alone. It comes with having to build bridges across various divides.
“We as members of the Armed Forces will never in any way allow peace and security of our nation in the hands of the terrorists. Rather it is we that will determine the peace and not for us to leave it in the hands of the terrorists.”
Regarding the next big step to be taken to secure the country, Irabor said,” I’m glad you talk about the next big step. Nigerians expect us to bring about peace and security in concert with other security agencies, that we will do. We can’t live in fear. And we will ensure that whatever brings fear to Nigerians before now will be a thing of the past.”
Asked what he will be doing differently from his predecessors, Gen Irabor said, “What we will not do is to give instructions to our subordinates and not do the same. By extension, we will command the troops based on the expectations that we have of them and they will do it according to the expectations that we have of them too.”
On change of strategies, the CDS said, “Strategies are not sancrosant. Of course, there are dynamics that we need to begin to look at, what needs to be reviewed, and that is precisely what we are doing currently. And we review various strategies and of course come up with new ones to be able to meet the demands of the current realities.”
Reiterating that Mr. L President gave them marching orders to achieve results in few weeks and that they will work assiduosly towards achieving that, he said, “No doubt, next 100 days is not as important as today. I believe that as members of the Armed Forces working in concert with the rest of the security agencies, we will bring Mr President’s expectations to bear in terms of our task.
“But let me also let you know that the inevitable is that Nigerians will indeed experience peace and security across the land.”