President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja warned that any act of hooliganism hiding behind lawful and peaceful protests will be dealt with decisively to ensure peace and stability in the country.
Buhari while declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020, virtually, commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts at swiftly restoring law and order in various states during the large-scale criminality that ensued in the wake of the #ENDSARS protests and other violent criminals through ongoing exercises and operations in different parts of the country.
”Despite this, I am pleased to note that the Army remained resolute in the discharge of its Constitutional roles and in keeping the wealth and welfare of our soldiers a priority.
”The Army’s support of Civil Authorities in the management of the COVID – 19 Pandemic is a case in point.
”Also, the peaceful elections conducted in Edo and Ondo States would not have been achieved without the high level of professionalism displayed by all security agencies, including the Army,” he said.
Speaking on the theme “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles,” Buhari noted that it is only through human capacity development that any institution can attain the level of professionalism needed to effectively and efficiently carry out its Constitutional roles.
However, he stated that the exercise SAHEL SANITY launched a few months ago in the North West states to rid the Katsina-Zamfara corridor of marauding bandits had recorded commendable progress.
”I have also been briefed about the tremendous successes that have been achieved by troops during the ongoing Operation FIRE BALL in the North East.
”I charge you all to sustain these efforts until the full restoration of peace and security in the nation is achieved,” the President told members of the armed forces at the conference which provides an avenue for the leadership of the Army to re-assess its preparedness and operational readiness in carrying out its Constitutional roles.”
Reiterating Government’s commitment to the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests responsibly and in accordance with the laws of the land, the President recounted that the #ENDSARS protests were sadly hijacked by hooligans to cause wanton damage to lives and property in many cities across the country.
He pledged that his administration will not relent in its efforts to take adequate care of families of fallen heroes who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the fight against insurgency and other forms of crimes across the country.
President Buhari said he had been briefed that some of the major capabilities procured for the Army will soon be inducted into the various theatres of operations, urging personnel ‘‘to make judicious use of these capabilities, even as we await the arrival of others currently pending shipment to the country.’’
‘On our part, I assure you that this administration will continue to do all within available resources to provide for your operational and welfare needs,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi appreciated the President for always approving funds for operations of the military in the country, assuring that all resources will be judiciously utilised.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, noted that the Nigeria Army was well poised to confront all security challenges, which includes cyber threats.