Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to activate the Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation as part of the effort to ensure the sustenance of the ongoing modernization of the Army to effectively address contemporary security challenges that are perennially bedeviling the country. But the Army does not operate in isolation from the Air Force.
President Buhari made this declaration at the opening ceremony of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference 2022 with the theme: “Building a Professional Nigerian Army for the 21st Century Security Environment” held at the International Conference Centre, Kasarawa, Sokoto State.
He noted that deliberate efforts have been put in place to fast track the take off of NA Aviation through the acquisition of requisite platforms, as proposed in the 2023 budget. The President reiterated his confidence in the NA and other services to defend Nigeria through the implementation of presidential directives.
The Nigerian President asserted that as an element of national power, the NA will continue to be the catalyst of national development through provision of support to civil authority. He further affirmed that the Federal Government will continue to maintain robust policies towards modernization of the NA and the Armed Forces of Nigeria in general.
Buhari noted that the ongoing process of modernization of the Armed Forces has tremendously improved its capacity and combat efficiency to discharge its constitutional roles.
He commended the Service Chiefs and heads of other security agencies for improved synergy in accomplishing his directives, adding that the renewed vigour in operations and improved Civil Military co-operation will enable the nation achieve the desired national security objectives.
He urged the NA to consolidate on its achievements through the sustenance of offensive against terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
President Buhari assured that government will continue to cater for the families of deceased personnel who paid the supreme price in defence of Nigeria, through provision of welfare schemes and educational scholarship programmes.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the Executive Governor of Sokoto State, Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal extolled the tireless efforts of the NA and other security agencies towards ensuring peace and security in Sokoto state. He commended their resolve and collective contribution to the improved security in North West Nigeria and other regions.
In his remarks during the Conference, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi(rtd) stated that the NA has contributed immensely towards combating insecurity in the country.
The ex-general urged commanders to take advantage of the conference to profer practicable solutions to the security challenges confronting the country.
Delivering his welcome address, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya said the conference is taking place at a time the NA received tremendous support from Mr President, which has boosted the capability of the NA and the Armed Forces in general.
He pointed out that year 2022 has been eventful for the NA, particularly in all theatres of operations, where successes have been progressively recorded.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of Nigerian Army Recognition Award to some eminent Nigerians, who have been supportive to the NA in the areas of health care, education, infrastructure and economic empowerment of widows and orphans.
Those who received the NA Recognition Award are Alh Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu Chairman BUA Group, Aliko Dangote Chairman Dangote Group, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) Comptroller General Nigerian Customs Service, Dr Jim Ovia Chairman Zenith Bank, Tony Elumelu Founder Tony Elumelu Foundation and Lt Gen Tukur Buratai former Chief of Army Staff.