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Buratai to soldiers on 2019 Elections: Stay Away from Politicians; Don’t be sympathetic to any religious, ethnic or political Cause.

With the 2019 elections drawing near and political activities increasing in tempo, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has warned officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army to distance themselves from acts that are inimical to the corporate existence, unity and stability of the country.

Consequently, he has directed, “GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels to continue to remind officers and soldiers under their command to remain non-partisan and be guided by the stipulated code of conduct in the discharge of their duties.

Speaking at the Chief of Army Staff combined second and third quarter 2018 conference in Abuja, Buratai emphasized that, “As professional soldiers, none of us should be sympathetic to any political, religious or ethnic cause”.

He continued, “Any personnel of the Nigerian Army who is interested in politics should voluntarily retire from the Army to pursue his/her political passion.

“Furthermore, I wish to remind all on the prohibition of Nigerian Army personnel from any form of worship outside the established barracks worship areas, except those permitted for wedding and some peculiar social functions.

“I want to reiterate that the Special Court Martial to try defaulters is already in place.

“I enjoin you all to observe the codes of conduct guiding military personnel and thus refrain from any occult, ethnic, political or religious extremism as these would distract us from our enshrined constitutional responsibility as professional soldiers”.

Noting that, “the unity and territorial integrity of Nigeria lies with the military and the Nigerian Army in particular”, Buratai said, “Therefore, we must brace up to this onerous task which can only be borne with effort.

“Let me remind all commanders that, as a command responsibility, necessary steps must be taken in all circumstances to prevent any act that is inimical to the corporate existence, unity and stability of the country.

Towards boosting local production of military hardware, the COAS said, “In order to enhance our growing Military Industrial Complex and boost local production, the Nigerian Army is collaborating with some international and indigenous companies in the local production of helicopters, Un-manned Aerial Vehicles, radios, vehicles, weapon and equipment spares as well as combat materiel”.

“The companies include SAT-COM Namibia, NTRC Pakistan, Innoson Vehicle Motors, Proforce Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Machine Tools amongst others. This is in line with the Federal Government’s drive to boost local content patronage which holds a very good prospect”.

Regarding the war against terrorism and other security challenges, the COAS said, “I want to reiterate that the Nigerian Army will remain resolute and steadfast in tackling the security challenges confronting our country.

“Hence, I have directed that adequate attention must be given to sustain and improve the tempo of all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country to curb any threat decisively.

“Commanders are to ensure that purpose oriented training are carried out to continuously improve operational and administrative proficiencies of formations and units.

“Furthermore, Research and Development must be taken seriously in order to chart the progressive paths of innovation and development to combat contemporary security challenges.

“The ongoing operations in different parts of the country to curtail the activities of Boko Haram Terrorists, farmers-herdsmen clashes, armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and militancy among other crimes have witnessed tremendous achievements.

“I want to emphasize that these successes must be sustained and consolidated. I therefore urge you to bring your ingenuities to bear on your duties. Furthermore, commanders at all levels are to be more actively involved in pursuing the desired goals of the Nigerian Army.

“The Army has launched Op Last Hold in the North East to completely degrade the Boko Haram Terrorist group around Lake Chad region and to facilitate the return of the internally displaced persons to their homes.

“The operation is still ongoing and is achieving the set objectives. Additionally, the security situation in the North West and North Central particularly around some parts of Kaduna, Zamfara, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states have necessitated the deployment of troops by the Nigerian Army, sister Services and other security agencies to put a stop to wanton destruction of lives and properties.

“I want to urge the field commanders not to relent on their efforts to ensure effective synergy amongst the security agencies within their respective Area of Responsibility to achieve desired end-states.

“As part of efforts to complement the defence and arrangements put in place to checkmate the security challenges in the country, I directed the establishment of 17 Brigade in Katsina. I also directed the establishment of the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command to explore the cyber dimension to warfare and other military operations.

“Others are the re-establishment of Nigerian Army Special Project under the office of the COAS and establishment of FOB in Epe among others.

“Furthermore, Headquarters 8 Div and 1 Brigade have been relocated to their permanent headquarters in Sokoto and Zamfara States respectively as provided in the Nigerian Army Order of Battle (ORBAT 2016) while 123 Special Forces Battalion has also been established to complement the efforts of 707 Special Forces Brigade.”

“I am aware of the logistics constraints affecting our operations across the country particularly Op Lafiya Dole. I am glad to inform you that the President, Commander-in-Chief has assured that all our requests will be given priority and expeditious approval.

“I therefore want to emphasize that kitting, protective gear, additional equipment/platforms, accommodation, welfare and other logistics provisioning would be one of my top priority in the procurement plan for the fourth quarter of the year.

“I must add that it is a command responsibility to ensure good maintenance of equipment and sound administration as well as the welfare of troops and their families.

“I have noted that these are sometimes lacking in some commands and such attitude must change. The Army Headquarters will continue to provide the needed logistics for all ongoing operation. Commanders must also ensure the maintenance and serviceability of equipment in their charge.”

“In the military, good leadership remains a fundamental factor in achieving effective command and control at tactical, operational and strategic levels.

“It is therefore highly desirable rather than essential for Nigerian Army training institutions to give leadership training the desired attention.

“You are all aware of the weak leadership by some junior commanders and its impact on the conduct of operations. I challenge all our training institutions to make deliberate efforts to change this tide.”

“In the second quarter of the year, the NA in conjunction with the US Army Africa successfully co-hosted the African Land Forces Summit which had in attendance over 43 Army Service Chiefs within Africa, as well as Army/Defence Staff from the USA, Brazil, Canada, France, UK and NATO.

“The theme of the summit which was “Unity and Strength: Combating Africa’s Security Challenges” provided an opportunity for African Army Chiefs and Defence experts to discuss operations and strategies that would strengthen African defence cooperation and security.”

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