Since terrorists acts do not spare anybody, Nigerians must form an alliance across religion and ethnicity in order to destroy every form of terrorism in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the call Saturday in his speech at the grand finale of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NACEL) and Combat Support Arms Training (COSAT) at the Ikeja Contemned Lagos.
Represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the President said whatever name a terrorists group is called, be it Boko haram haram, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), they are common enemies of all faiths and must be fought by all regardless of religion or ethnicity.
“They are motivated by a satanic desire to control communities by murder and terror. Whether it is in Iraq or Borno or Syria their victims are men and women and children, Muslims and Christians so long they do not share their sick ideologies,” the President said.
“They target churches they target mosques, markets and motor parks, where people gather, using children as human bombs killing randomly regardless of tribes or religion.
“The challenge before us is to recognise this for what it is…this sick extremism for what it is; and to form alliances across faith across ethnicity to destroy an evil that confront us all.”
He said the Nigerian Army had made appreciable progress in the fight against terrorism in the North east, hence recapturing all territories that were hitherto under the control of the insurgents.
“When we came in Boko haram terrorists control 17 local governments to day they control no Nigerian territory. Independent observers have reported also there has been a drastic decline in the fatality caused by Boko haram and the various factions of the group that exit today,” he said. “They are no more than a shadow of what existed when we come into office.”
The President said the Nigerian Army has also performed creditably well in curtailing other emerging security challenges in the country, such as banditry, kidnapping and herders/ farmers clashes. He assured that the Federal Government working with the state, Nigerian Army and other security agencies would ensure no citizen of the country is maim, kill nor allow any criminal to escape without being apprehended and punished.
“We are working with the states through a multiple approach working with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies…. You will hear a lot more about this solution in weeks and months ahead,” the President said.
“Let me again assure you on behalf of Mr. President that we will faithfully discharge all our obligations to the members of the Armed Forces; you also must also continue to demonstrate the political will and determination towards ensuring that our land is rid of insurgency and criminality is kept at the barest minimum.”
Earlier in his address, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buaratai, said the Nigerian Army was determined to be resolute and ruthless in the fight against insurgency and other criminality in the country.
“Although some of our colleagues have paid the supreme sacrifice, our efforts must not be relaxed until our mission of complete defeat of the insurgents and other criminals in the country is attained,” he said.
“It is in actualisation of this that this year’s theme, which is ‘Professionally Responsive Soldiering; A panacea for Successful Military Operations’, was chosen which is very much in tandem with my vision ‘To have a professionally responsive army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.’”
At the event nine serving officers and 10 soldiers were honoured with the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Award for their outstanding performance, while 34 veterans, including three World War 2 veterans, among which was 104-year-old Private Amuda Aluko, also received the award.
The army also showcased some light skin and armoured infantry vehicles manufactured by the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company.
The NACEL is an annual event which affords the Nigerian Army an opportunity to showcase its rich history, values, and modest achievements.
It is also designed to array its personnel and equipment with a bid to showcase it combat capability as a fighting force. It is also aimed to project the Nigerian Army as a key instrument of national power, unity, integration and development.