Posted by News Express | 24 December 2018 | 1,255 times
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has assured troops of the best possible treatment, even as he made a strong case for more funds for the Nigerian military.
“The world over, no Army has all its required resources; nonetheless, we are doing all we could to give the best of service to our combatants,” Buratai said on Saturday night during an interaction with editors of major news organisations across the country.
Highlighting what has been done to improve the welfare of troops, the Army Chief said: “The Nigerian Army under my leadership has made giant strides in the area of discharging our constitutional duties. My Command of the Nigerian Army is doing everything possible to ensure better welfare for the soldiers.
“We have constructed and renovated so many living and office accommodations for both officers and soldiers across the country and more is being done. We have also upgraded and rehabilitated various Nigerian Army Medical Services and Hospitals, created Barracks Investments Initiative Programme that also caters for the welfare of troops’ families.
“In the Nigerian Army nobody tampers with pay and allowances of any officer or soldier. And wherever there are proven cases of deviation from our rules of engagement or laws, appropriate disciplinary measures were always taken against such erring personnel.”
Buratai condemned “consistent unjustified attacks against the Nigerian Army over troops’ welfare, particularly on pay and allowances, as well as allegations on human rights abuses.” He said unequivocally that “the allegations are rather unfortunate as they are not done in good faith and were mostly based on ignorance.”
The Army Chief thanked the Federal Government for funding the army and the rest of the country’s military but appealed for more funds in view of the fact that “the Nigerian Army is right now deeply engaged in fighting terrorism and insurgency and ensuring security in almost all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.”
Continuing, he said: “Like the rest of other sectors of the country, we do not have all the resources required to do as we wish. There is no doubt, the government is doing all it could to ensure that we are well trained, equipped to carry out our duties. However, considering that we are in a state of war, there is need to further enhance the funding of the military.”
Buratai assured that under his leadership, “the Nigerian Army would continue to be professional and apolitical. Therefore, the Nigerian Army I command will not allow itself to be dragged into politics of any kind.”
He admitted that “the Nigerian Army, like every other human system or institution, is not, and cannot be perfect,” but quickly explained efforts being made to prevent human rights abuses and correct any proven cases of injustice. His words: “Indeed, there were instances of observed gaps. For instance, when I took over command, I realised the need for an enhanced civil-military relations, hence our concerted efforts at strengthening the Department of Civil-Military Affairs through the establishment of Human Rights desk.
“We have also improved on our military justice system and do not spare any officer or soldier found culpable of human rights abuses and other offenses. I have ordered the constitution of General Court Martial to try various acts of indiscipline and other offenses at Operation LAFIYA DOLE, 2 Division, 81 Division, 82 Division and Army Headquarters Garrison. We have also created new formations and training institutions to enhance operational capacity and professional efficiency. These include the establishment of 6 and 8 Divisions of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Army Special Forces Command, 16 and 17 Brigades of the Nigerian Army, Cyberwarfare Command and the Nigerian Army Special Forces School, amongst others.”
The Army Chief appealed for the support of both the media and the rest of Nigerians to enable it successfully tackle insurgents, terrorists and other criminals making life difficult for Nigerians.
“You should always remember that while the rest of us sleep in air conditioned rooms, with all the comfort, the soldiers are out there ensuring that nothing untoward happens to us. The institution that does this deserves the total support of the media and all Nigerians,” the Army Chief said.
Among army top shots who attended the dinner/interaction were Maj.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, Head of Military Training and Operations; Maj.-Gen. Benson Akinroliyo, Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole; and Brig.-Gen. Bulama Biu, Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division.
Non-media stakeholders in attendance included representatives of UN agencies and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relation Practitioners (NIPR).
•Army Chief, Gen. Buratai, exchanging pleasantries with News Express Publisher, Isaac Umunna, on Saturday night in Maiduguri
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