Remarks By His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, At The Chief Of Army Staff Annual Conference 2018, Held At Maiduguri On 28 November 2018
I am delighted to be here in Maiduguri, for the opening ceremony of the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2018. I know that the venue of this Conference was moved from Benin to Maiduguri at very short notice.
However I can see that so many of the very senior officers in the Army, both serving and retired are here. In view of recent tragedies, I commend the decision of the leadership of the Nigerian Army in moving the venue of this conference to Maiduguri.
The officers and soldiers who are fighting against the curse of terrorism in the North East deserve all the attention our country’s leadership can demonstrate to them.
As President of the country, I am determined to ensure that every citizen feels safe and secure in all parts of the country. To achieve this, the security agencies must rise to the challenge and curb threats to security in our country.
The Armed Forces play a critical role in safeguarding the country, hence you must all ensure that your plans and programmes meet the challenges we face.
To this end, I am glad that this conference is holding at this time, because it serves as a platform to assess and evaluate your performance for the Year 2018.
One of the cardinal objectives of this government is security. In this regard, the Nigerian Army’s efforts have led to the dislodgement of insurgents from areas hitherto viewed as their strongholds, rescue of abducted persons, return of Internally Displaced Persons and the gradual return to normalcy in the North East.
The effort of the military has also stabilized the security situation in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country and curtailed the clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
I must commend the selfless sacrifices of our Armed Forces especially the heroic officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army who by virtue of their commitment to operations all over the country have brought about the desired peace.
There has been a remarkable improvement in the security situation in the North East since 2015 when this administration came into government and you are a major part of the successes that have been achieved.
I am of course, aware that in the recent months and in recent days there have been some operational losses in the Northern part of Borno State, particularly in Jilli, Arege and Metele.
I know that you are doing your best to reverse this trend and I want to assure you that no effort will be spared in providing the necessary support you require to complete the task. We remain committed to ending the crisis in the North East and making the entire area safe for all. I urge you all to keep up the good work.
I am also painfully aware that some gallant officers and soldiers have paid the supreme price in the course of these anti-terrorist operations. While we remember them and mourn with their loved ones, I must also convey the deep gratitude of the Government and people of Nigeria to the late soldiers and their families for their heroic sacrifices. Our thoughts and prayers are also with all other victims of Boko Haram's atrocities and their families.
I will be visiting some of our injured troops in hospitals and also talk to others at their bases to assure them of our continued support. It is a must win war, I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by whatever speculations but to remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the face of earth.
The Nigerian Army’s commitment to upholding democracy is appropriately captured in the theme of the conference which is “Optimizing the Operational Efficiency of the Nigerian Army Towards Safeguarding Democracy and National Security in Nigeria”.
As we approach the 2019 General Elections, I want to urge all members of the Armed Forces to live up to their responsibilities and remain non-partisan. In addition, you must all remain vigilant throug