Editor’s note: The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said that the Nigerian Army (NA) under his leadership recorded many successess as it has been steadfast in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities as as well as providing aid to civil authority.
Buratai stated this in his addressing at the COAS Annual Conference in Maiduguri, Borno State, North East Nigeria, where he explained the Army’s achievements in the four quarter of 2018.
He listed 10 major achievements of the Nigerian Army under his leadership in the year under review.
1. Successful war against terror
In the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) in the North East under, Buratai said the Nigerian Army in conjunction with other Services and security agencies has dominated the area and continues to carry out sustained operations against the Boko Haram.
On the nations territorial integrity, he continued, “particularly along our land borders has not been breached as we continually maintain a posture to defend Nigeria’s territorial rights and interests. Security relations with our neighbors, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic has remained relatively calm, except for increased trafficking of small arms and light weapons across the borders among other cross border criminality.
Also, “I am pleased to report that internal security in Nigeria has improved drastically from where we were in 2015 when I took over command of the Nigerian Army. However, we recognize that there are potent threats that require us to continually review our operations. Hence, this conference will deliberate on ways through which the NA can continue to enhance national security,” Buratai said.
3. Effective civil-military relations
Further, Buratai continued “Over the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the year we also identified the need to support Federal Government’s efforts at encouraging Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return to their ancestral homes. To this end we conducted Operation Last Hold which was designed to further degrade the BHTs, facilitate the relocation of IDPs to their communities and to promote civil-military relations. By the end of Operation Last Hold, over 5,000 IDPs returned back to their communities in Northern Borno.
4. Support for democracy, 2019 elections
“As the nation moves towards the 2019 General Elections, the NA is conducting Operation Safe Conduct to support other security agencies during the period of elections in the country. The NA activated the operation on 14 July 2018 during the elections in Ekiti and Osun states and it was a huge success. We intend to replicate the successes achieved, during the 2019 General Elections.
5. Reorganisation of Army towards professionalism
“In 2018, the NA witnessed a lot of reorganization and redeployment in a bid to improve our overall operational responsiveness and professionalism. Just two weeks ago, I approved the redeployment of some field and operational commanders in order to inject new ideas in the command and control structure in various NA operations across the country. We are also reorganizing to align with some of our current realities. I have directed for a change from a wholly defensive posture to one where we defend in numbers and conduct offensive operations in smaller packets but simultaneously in different fronts.
6. More trainings and capacity building for personnel
“In the area of training we have expanded our in-theater training for troops in the frontlines to afford them the required capabilities to operate and conduct effective operations. Special attention was also given to providing local and foreign training opportunities for all cadre of officers and soldiers. In Year 2018 alone, a total of 156 personnel have attended foreign courses while 2,390 have attended local courses and training programmes, ranging from masters degree programmes to workshops and conferences. The NA has also hosted over 300 local and international conferences, seminars or summits either solely or in-conjunction with other bodies.
7. Improved welfare packages
“The provision of adequate healthcare to NA personnel and their families has continued to remain one of my priorities. From Jan 18 to date, 36 officers, 144 soldiers and 7 family members of personnel have benefited in the NA Medical Evacuation both within and outside the Country. Currently, there are twelve patients and twelve escorts in India receiving treatment.
8. Enhanced innovation/partnerships in defence industry
“In the course of 2018, we have encouraged and supported all NA officers and soldiers who have innovative ideas and competencies. We have also resumed full collaboration with the Defence Industries Coorporation (DICON) for needed parts and small arms and ammunition. Similarly, the NA is partnering with several companies in Nigeria including Innoson Motors, Proforce Limited and Nigeria Machine Tools, among others, towards the production of light and heavy armoured vehicles, critical equipment as well as protective clothing for NA troops. These collaborations have led to the development of the TYB Rover, Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) and the Bionbion Helicopter, among several other equipment. We are also engaging some foreign technical companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to help us repair and refurbish some of our heavier and more delicate platforms.
9. Eventful year for education, R& D platforms
“The Year 2018, has been eventful and my address will not be complete without mentioning some of the new developments that have taken place within the year. The NA established the Nigerian Army Women Corps (NAWC) to develop female officers and soldiers that can be employed in all operational engagements of the NA. The Nigerian Army University Biu (NAUB) has been approved, established and has commenced its academic programmes. The Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company (NAVMC) was also established to support our strides in vehicle manufacturing. The NA has also commenced direct training for personnel to acquire sufficient knowledge and communication skills in the 3 major Nigerian languages to better fit in anywhere they may be deployed. The NA has also established the first ever Cyber Command. The Command will effectively tackle the fake news against the NA, the country and also secure our cyber domain from hostile elements.”
10. Established Human Rights Desks in all Army formations
Buratai however saiad that In spite of the Armys successes, it is faced with challenges and setbacks, to include the recent setback in Metele and insinuations of human rights abuses.
To this end, he announced the establishment of a Human Rights Desk offices in all NA formations for speedy attention to human rights allegations.
The Chief of Army Staff while expressing his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to the Nigerian Armed Forces in general and to the NA in particular, pledged a total commitment to the defense of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He assured that the NA will continue to remain apolitical, professional and responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles.