President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked the Armed Forces, especially the Army, to remain apolitical and continue to work within the bounds of the Constitution.
President Buhari, who spoke in Sokoto where he declared the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2022 opened, also urged the Army to continue to improve its human rights obligations during operations in line with global best practices.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari also pledged that the modernization drive of the Nigerian Armed Forces would be vigorously sustained, including the fast-track of the activation of the Nigerian Army Aviationn which is a crucial matter of policy that was first vigorously pushed by the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
The Former Chief of Army Staff was vigorously pushing the establishment and activation of an air or aviation wing for the Nigerian Army due to its failuer to often times effectively prosecute an attack on terror groups and also get close Air Support from the Nigerian Airforce.
Though the situation seems to have improved under the current Army Chief, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya and his Airforce Counterpart, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao, the need for the Air Wing has not gone away.
On the human rights front, the President described improved obligations by security agencies on this issue as ‘‘the major pathway for winning the hearts and minds of the people who have been bearing the brunt of the over a decade old insurgency in the North East and Other parts of the Country where the Military and Other agencies are engaged in Internal Security Operations.
On the 2023 polls, the President noted that it is imperative that the Army, and the Armed Forces in general, support the civil authority by providing a peaceful environment to enable its successful conduct.
He expressed delight that the Chief of Army Staff has already issued a reviewed Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct to guide personnel during the general elections.
The Annual Chief of Army Staff conference also served as an avenue for the Nigerian Army to honour some private individuals who have contributed to the success of the force in the last few years, the honourees include Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Tony Elumelu, Mr Jim Ovia and Others.
Dignitaries and traditional rulers including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad sa’ad Abubakar attended the conference which was also adressed by the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.