The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has in response to the ongoing battle with some media reports, appealed to journalists to be cautious of stories capable of jeopardizing ongoing military operations in the North East.
Buratai made this call on Wednesday, after being conferred with the award of “Man of the Year of The Politico Magazine” , by the staff and management of the Abuja based monthly magazine.
He tasked the media to see themselves as partners in the peace, progress and security of the country,saying the Nigerian Army in particular and the military in general have no monopoly of the total security in the defence of our country.
The army chief further appealed to the media to work closely with the military for achievement of the needed success in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, the militancy in the Niger Delta and other security threats across the country, saying the task was not only for security outfits alone.
Buratai who admitted some challenges in the Army’s operations in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram, however, said all the military action was to the best interest of the country.
He said: “We must work together to ensure a total security and defence of our country.
“I want to state here that the Nigerian Army is a great partner in progress just like the media. I want to also state here that the media is a partner in national security. We don’t have the monopoly of the total security in the defence of our country. We must work together to ensure a total security and defence of our country.
“Though there are challenges along the line but the ultimate objective of whatever action that is taken along the line is with the aim of safeguarding our sovereignty, our dignity as a nation and indeed the general wellbeing and safety of our country men and women.”
Speaking further, COAS assured that the Army would continue to ensure it keeps to its rules of engagement in its operations, saying where it is perceived to have gone outside its schedule, the action would have been to safeguard the country.
“We are interested in safeguarding human rights, we are also partners in this regard with the media. We will continue to safeguard human rights in the course of our duties.
” We have it written down in our code of conduct and indeed our rules of engagements.
“The first principle of the Nigerian Army’s Rules of Engagement is the protection and safeguarding of human lives. This has remained sacrosanct and we will continue to ensure that human rights are observed, the rules are observed, the international humanitarian laws are observed as well as ensuring that the application of the laws of armed conflicts in all our operations are strictly observed.
“So we we call on the media generally to look at the delicate and complex role of the Nigerian Army and indeed the Nigerian military in this context and that whatever we do, we do it for the sake of our country, we do it equally for the sake of humanity.
“I wish to also state here that we are partners in peace and development of our country. Peace is key, peace is fundamental and to development just as it is to security. And that is the objective of the military, it is also enshrined in our constitution as well as the directive of the political leadership of this country to see that we perform our duties in accordance with the laid-down constitutional provisions, “he added.
He also commended the management and publisher of Politico Magazine, Alhaji Mustapha Shehu, for the award. He however, stressed that he should not be singled out for the Army’s achievement in the North East, noting that , “President Muhammadu Buhari, principal, and the entire military personnel contributed immensely for the defeat of the terrorists”.
Buratai went ahead to dedicate this award to the leadership of the Nigerian Army.
He continued: “It is not only the Chief of Army Staff that is responsible to all these successes that have been achieved, it is the combination of hard work, dedication and selflessness on the part of all the principal officers, the directors in Army Headquarters, the staff officers and indeed all commanders in the field as well as in other military institutions. It’s a collective responsibility, it’s a collective efforts towards galvanizing and mobilizing all the troops to achieve the objectives of securing our country and indeed protecting Nigerians wherever they are.”
“We know that the challenge in the forefront has been that of the North East but there are other subsidiaries challenges in the Niger Delta, in the North West, in the North Central and a host of others in the South South, the South East and South West.
” It took a lot of efforts, coordination, planning, movement of personnel and logistics to ensure that the progress and the successes we have achieved come to materialize hence the appreciation by Nigerians, including the Chief Executive, staff and board members of The Politico Magazine, to say we thank you for your service to our country.”
“In this regard, we have no any option than to accept it and to also acknowledge and thank you profusely for this award.
“The successes of our operations cannot be in isolation, Mr President and Commander in Chief has been at the forefront.
“We have received very strong political direction, we have received the necessary support, the logistics support, the financial support to ensure that the fight against the Boko Haram and indeed all other insurgency or banditory as well as militancy are properly conducted with the right equipment, with the right mindset and indeed with the right logistics. Equally, the moral of the troops through sound administration and the provision of our requisite training are key and this we have been substantially supported by Mr President and Commander in Chief. This, we have equally appreciated.
“We have done the service to our country in accordance with the constitutional provisions on the employment of the Nigerian Army in particular and the Nigerian Armed Forces in general.
” These are duties that we are bound to perform and I want to say that in the cause of performing this very national assignment, we have been identified and appreciated. We want to say thank you to The Politico Magazine and indeed all Nigerians for standing by the Nigerian Army in particular and the military in general in a very trying period, especially as regards to the fight against Boko Haram terrorists or insurgents,” he added.