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2019: Stay out of politics, Buratai warns officers

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•I am saddened by Nigerians celebrating military losses

Mukaila Ola 

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai , has warned officers and soldiers to stay clear of politics and remain apolitical, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Buratai issued this warning on Friday while addressing officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the closing ceremony of the COAS Annual Conference held in Maiduguri, Borno State, North East Nigeria.

He said the theme of the conference: “Optimizing the operational efficiency of the Nigerian Army towards safeguarding democracy and National security in Nigeria,” was carefully selected “to remind us of our constitutional role as an army operating under democracy especially as we approach general elections. The Nigerian Army is apolitical and must remain non-partisan in the conduct of the elections.”.

He said: “It is incumbent on us to maintain peace in our areas of responsibilities and shun the lures of politicians and  in appraising our operations, we noted the need to increase our manpower, maintain our role and get less involved in roles for the Nigerian Police.”

 “We deliberated on a lot of silent issues including issue of leadership, command responsibilities. I was pleased to listen to thought-provoking deliberations generated during discussion session. I believe, there is hope for Nigeria with the officers that will take over the army leadership in future.”

The COAS however regretted that, there have been clear leadership failure and lack of initiative among senior and junior commanders, stressing that this must be checked as he directed  operational commanders at all level to imbibe leadership virtues in coordinating their surbordinates.

According to him, “the recent unfortunate incident involving our troops has given me great concern. We have not done enough in providing adequate protection.”

While cautioning the commanders, Buratai said “we must remember our oath to defend the nation at all cost. In this regard, the recent activities of Boko Haram should not deter us. We must end the menace”.

Also speaking, the Governor of  Borno state, Mr. Kashim Shettima, expressed sadness  with the way some Nigerians celebrate setback in the war against terrorism.

He however urged the Nigerian military not to be deterred by recent setbacks, noting that this is normal in any asymmetric war.

He said “the people of Borno state will remain indebted to the Nigerian Army for bringing peace to our communities.

“We will continue to support the military until you finally eliminate Boko Haram in the Northeast and the country at large.”

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