The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday in Jaji, Kaduna State, said the last 12 years have been “very challenging” for the country, considering the different security threats that have besieged it within that time.
He also vowed that his regime will ramp up support for the military to “wipe out terrorists off the face of the earth” and bring peace to the country.
According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke at the graduation ceremony of 247 students of the Senior Course 44 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji.
The statement is titled ‘President Buhari lauds combat readiness, operational capability of Nigerian military, pledges more support in fight against insurgency.’
Appraising the ongoing collaboration of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger Republic, Benin Republic and Chad in a multinational operation to combat the Boko Haram Insurgency in the Lake Chad region, President Buhari said, “The synergy achieved in operating together must have been enhanced by an understanding of the doctrines of the cooperating forces.
‘‘This occasion provides me with another opportunity to briefly reflect on the state of the Nigerian nation, particularly regarding national security.
“The last 12 years have been very challenging for our nation, considering the different security threats that have besieged the country.
‘‘Our government is poised to promote national security and development, as well as to remain committed to promoting a vision of a secure, safe, just, peaceful, prosperous and strong Nigeria.”
To the graduating students, the President said the onus now lies on them to confront the terrorists and insurgents behind the 12-year battle and wipe them off the face of the earth.
While noting that the security challenges facing the world today were both asymmetric and trans-border in nature, he said ‘‘We have witnessed recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria bearing the hallmark of national and trans-border insurgents trying to cause havoc in Nigeria as well as in neighbouring countries.
‘‘It will be part of your duty to confront these terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth and bring peace to our countries.”
He praised the Nigerian Armed Forces which, he noted, are “working tirelessly to enhance their combat effectiveness, operational capability and training necessary to eliminate the threats, in synergy with other institutions and nations.”
‘‘The response of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, militancy, kidnapping as well as the activities of separatists and armed militias amongst others have been commendable.
‘‘This government will continue to provide the required guidance and support to ensure that the desired results are achieved,’’ President Buhari added.
He also expressed delight that amongst the graduating students were international officers from 13 African countries, saying he is confident they enjoyed the friendliness of the country during their stay.
Further, he told the graduating students that their participation in the Course was a testimony of national security aspirations to promote international peace, friendship and cooperation.
President Buhari also commended the Commandant and his team for transforming the graduating students into highly refined products and for the ongoing work to expand and upgrade the facilities of the College saying “This government will continue to support the College in its developmental strides. My administration will also continue to give priority to the training and welfare of officers and men of our Armed Forces.”
Earlier, in his welcoming remarks, the Commandant of the College, Air Vice Marshall Olurotimi Tuwase, explained that 111 army officers, 69 naval officers, 42 air force officers, 10 students from paramilitary organisations and Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as 15 international students completed the 48 weeks intensive training, leading to the award of Pass Staff Course.
AVM Tuwase added that the international students on the Senior Course 44 were from Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
The Commandant thanked the President for his unflinching support to the College, noting that students from the prestigious school have been sufficiently trained and equipped to cope with most challenges in their career, with the staff and leadership skills acquired in the College.
At the event, President Buhari presented PSC certificates and awards to select graduands as well as the best graduating students.
Major Sunday Atomode bagged three awards namely Minister of Defence Award for highest overall score, Chief of Defence Staff Award for Department of Joint Studies and Chief of Army Staff Award for Department of Land Warfare.
Lt.-Cdr. Godwin Okutue won the Chief of Naval Staff Award for Department of Marine Warfare, Squadron Leader Peter Echeazu bagged the Chief of Air Staff Award for Department of Air Warfare while the Commandant’s Award for best non-military student was awarded to CDIO AM Ajiamah, and Major Errol Donkoh from Ghana for best international student.
The President, thereafter, departed Kaduna for his hometown in Daura. He is expected back in Abuja on Saturday.