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By NBF News

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has urged the Nigerian Armed Forces to uphold the rule of law in all their operational engagements within and outside the borders of Nigeria.

President Jonathan gave this charge at the weekend, in Kaduna, during the passing out parade and commissioning ceremony of the 57 Regular Course Cadet of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

Represented by the Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, President Jonathan reiterated 'the profound and unwavering commitment of this administration in the pursuit of the rule of law, which is a crucial pillar of a credible democratic government,' adding that 'in whatever role you may find yourselves, both within and outside our borders, I urge you to always adhere strictly to the rules of engagement for such operations, based on universal best practices.'

The president also stressed that security was of great significance to 'our national survival,' noting that 'to realise this objective, requires a credible and effective defence component.'  In this light, he acknowledged the transformation initiative of the top echelon of the Armed Forces, assuring them that government was 'determined to support the speedy implementation of the process within available resources.

He used the occasion to charge the newly commissioned officers to beef up and rejuvenate the lower segment of the leadership of the Armed Forces, which he said 'has a world acclaimed reputation for valour, resilience and loyalty to constituted authority.' President Jonathan urged them to key into the realisation of the defence target as contained in the Vision 20:2020 programme. He further advised them to shun all behaviours that would tarnish their reputation, honour and dignity as commissioned officers of the federation.

President Jonathan commended the leadership of the institution, for the maintenance of discipline and high standards, saying; 'it is delighting to note that the nation's huge investment in this institution is highly justified.'  The president also pledged government's support to the institution to meet its full potentials. The vice president presented awards to some deserving cadets for their outstanding performance in the course of their training. A total of 177 cadets, made up of 101 Army, 44 Navy and 32 Air Force passed out at the ceremony.

The Sword of Honour and the Chief of Naval Staff Gold Medal award went to Cadet Senior Under Officer (CSUO), S. Babangida, while the Indian Shield, the Chief of Army Staff Silver Medal and the Commandant's Special Award went to Academy Senior Under Officer (ASUO), A. M. Alkali.  The Chief of Army and Air Force Gold Medals went to CSUO, O. I. Ayuba, and A. Atavu, respectively. Other award recipients were CSUO G. Y. Gwaza and M. A. Getso for the Chief of Navy and Air Force Silver Medals.

Also present on the occasion, were the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Patrick Yakowa; his Deputy, Alhaji Ramalan Yero; the Minister of State Defence, Murtala Shehu Yar'Adua; Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed; Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence; Senator Ibrahim Ida, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal O. O. Petinrin; Service Chiefs, Lt. General O. A. Ihejirika, Vice Admiral O. S. Ibrahim and Air Marshal M. D. Umar,  Emirs of Katsina and Zazzau.