President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that any act of hooliganism hiding behind lawful and peaceful protests will be dealt with decisively to ensure peace and stability in the country.
While Virtually declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020, President Buhari commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts at swiftly restoring law and order in various states during the large-scale criminality that ensued in the wake of the #ENDSARS protests.
Reiterating Government’s commitment to the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests responsibly and in accordance with the laws of the land, the President recounted that the #ENDSARS protests were sadly hijacked by hooligans to cause wanton damage to lives and property in many cities across the country.
The President according to a statement signed by his special adviser on media, Femi Adesina, described the Year 2020 as a very challenging one, citing the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on almost every aspect of national life.
The President commended the Army for its unwavering commitment towards curtailing the activities of insurgents, armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other violent criminals through ongoing exercises and operations in different parts of the country.
The presidednt said the Exercise SAHEL SANITY launched a few months ago in the North West states to rid the Katsina-Zamfara corridor of marauding bandits had recorded commendable progress.
President Buhari also used the occasion to pay tribute to men and women in uniform who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence and security of the nation, commiserating with their families, comrades and friends.
He pledged that his administration will not relent in its efforts to take adequate care of families of fallen heroes who pay the supreme sacrifice in the fight against insurgency and other forms of crimes across the country.
At the conference, the President also launched the Housing scheme for Next of Kin of personnel of the Nigerian Army killed in action.
President Buhari said he had been briefed that some of the major capabilities procured for the Army will soon be inducted into the various theatres of operations, urging personnel ‘‘to make judicious use of these capabilities, even as we await the arrival of others currently pending shipment to the country.’’
On the choice of the theme of the annual conference, President Buhari noted that it is only through human capacity development that any institution can attain the level of professionalism needed to effectively and efficiently carry out its Constitutional roles.
The President congratulated the Army on holding the Conference at the magnificent edifice housing the Army’s Cyber Warfare Command with its state-of-the-art Cyberwarfare Operations Centre, adding that this shows that the Army is alive to the changing nature of warfare which is gradually moving into the cyber domain.
Earlier, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi appreciated the President for always approving funds for operations of the military in the country, assuring that all resources will be judiciously utilised.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, noted that the Nigeria Army is well poised to confront all security challenges, which includes cyber threats.