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Boko Haram: Buratai makes U-Turn, commends troops for gallant efforts

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai on Friday commended the courage commitment and sacrifice being made by officers and men of the armed forces in safeguarding the country.

Buratai gave the commendation during the graduation of 183 intermediate military officers, held at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State.

He said that the military authorities were doing more to acquire new platforms and enhance the welfare of personnel to ensure total success in the various operations targeted at securing the country and its people.

“I would like to commend your courage and commitment to the onerous and noble cause of ensuring the safety and security of Nigeria and Nigerians.

“I also want to use this opportunity to honour those who have paid the supreme price while in active service of our Motherland.

“We owe it to them to ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.  We also owe it to ourselves to become better at our craft, in terms of the quality of our equipment, personnel and training.

“To this end, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is making concerted efforts to acquire new platforms and equipment,’’ he added.

“We are also building our capacity to design and manufacture these equipment and materials using indigenous resources in order to ensure sustainability and enduring success in our military operations.

“While carrying out your duties in a professional manner, I charge you to be objective, firm and yet humane.

“Always adhere to the rules of engagement in force; seek good relations with your host communities in order to earn their respect and support which are the most critical requirements for success in asymmetric warfare.’’

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He added that it they must obey the rule of law and maintain a modest life that is worthy of emulation by the people the military have been mandated to protect.

“These few tips are capable of winning the hearts and minds of the people, which will ultimately result in a more favourable outcome in all our military operations.

“As military personnel, we must always remember that we are mandated to uphold Civil and Military Laws, as well as the highest standards of human conduct.

To the 183 intermediate officers of Junior Course 87, the Army Chief urged them to remain professional, disciplined and hard working in the discharge of their constitutional duties.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that the 23 weeks course commenced on Jan. 16 with 91 participants from the Army, 42 Navy personnel, 28 from the Air Force, and 14 non-military students from the Nigeria Customs Service, Road Safety Corps, as well as other paramilitary and security agencies.

Also, there are eight international officers on the Course comprising two from the Gambia and one each from the Republics of Botswana, Cameroun, Congo, Ghana, Niger and Zambia.

“I believe that the ethos of Leadership, Integrity, Discipline, Hard Work, Conscientiousness, Esprit-de-Corps and Self Confidence has been further entrenched in you in the course of your training.

“As from today, you have become professionally qualified junior level staff officers deployable at formation headquarters, as well as tactical level junior commanders of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other countries represented here.”

He added that the objective of the College is to develop the professional knowledge and understanding of selected officers in order to prepare them for increasing responsibilities both in staff and command appointments.

“I would like you to know that the appellation, ‘Passed Junior Staff Course’, confers much responsibility on you in terms of the anticipated quality of output you must produce henceforth.

“I say this because a lot of expectation will now be placed on you by your superiors, peers and even subordinates, as you return to your respective military units, organisations or countries,’’ he said

Buratai noted that in accordance with its constitutional roles, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is currently deployed for Counter Terrorism, Counter Insurgency, as well as Internal Security operations across the country.

“Many of you were released from the theatre of operation for this course and some of you will be going back there,” the Army chief added.

Earlier, the Commandant of the College, AVM Lawal Alao said the 23-week course featured intense field training and academic activities designed to build the capacity of officers with the appropriate skills to function as Grade 3 Staff Officers and tactical level junior commanders.

He explained that the course is also aimed at developing the leadership, analytical and communication skills of the participants to be able to efficiently operate during single service, joint or multi-agency operations.

“On the part of the College, we shall continue to improve on the instructional curricular, facilities and environment in order to ensure that the training offered here are contemporary and fit for purpose.

He commended the graduands for the untiring efforts they have put to qualify for the prestigious award of Passed Junior Staff Course.

“With this qualification, the College has laid a solid professional foundation for you, and you are now appreciably equipped to cope with most challenges that you are bound to face as you progress in your chosen careers.

“As you all know, the scourge of Boko Haram Terrorists still exists, though much degraded by ongoing military onslaught against the insurgents.

“Other threats such as armed banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities are still prevalent across the country.

“Accordingly, by virtue of your training at the Junior Course, we are confident that you will be professional, effective and yet humane while carrying out your tasks as junior staff officers and commanders in the field.

“Always bear in mind, the end state of our military mandate, which is to ensure the unity, prosperity and security of Nigeria in order to foster national development.

“I charge you therefore to be courageous, honest, true and conscientious to the oath we swore, to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity and national interests.

“As you return to your respective agencies and countries, I implore you to be good ambassadors of the College, and continue to sustain the friendships you have developed here with your colleagues and members of staff,’’ Alao said.

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