President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigerian Armed Forces to remain apolitical and continue to operate within the framework of the constitution to ensure the successful conduct of the 2023 general election.
Speaking Monday in Sokoto while declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2022, the president while previewing the 2023 polls, 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 (CAS) has already issued a reviewed Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct to guide personnel during the general election.
According to him, “The professionalism you exhibited in the successful conduct of the Anambra, Osun and Ekiti States elections should also be reflected in the 2023 general election.”
Buhari urged the army to continue to improve their human rights obligations during operations in line with global best practices.
The president described improved obligations by security agencies on human rights issue as ‘‘the major pathway for winning the hearts and minds of the people”.
Commenting on the theme of the conference, ‘’Building a Professional Nigerian Army for 21st Century Security Environment’’, Buhari challenged the army to focus on consolidating on the achievements made so far and ensure continuity to improve the country’s security situation.
He also tasked them to evolve enduring strategies that will consolidate their efforts in securing the country.
‘‘As a key element of our national power, the Nigerian Army will continue to be a major catalyst for our development especially by providing the needed aid to civil authority.
‘‘This administration has therefore maintained a robust policy towards modernization of the Nigerian Army and the Armed Force Forces in general.
‘‘It is evident that the ongoing progressive modernization of the Nigerian Army under our administration has greatly improved the capabilities as well as combat efficiency of the service to discharge its roles,” he said.
Buhari commended the CAS, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, and other service chiefs, as well as heads of various security agencies for their determination and improved synergy in accomplishing his directives.
He expressed confidence that the renewed vigour and standard injected in operations, as well as the collective resolve and improved civil-military relations would engender lasting peace and stability in the country.
The president reiterated that the provision of security to Nigerians would continue to receive premium attention by the administration, adding that deliberate actions are ongoing to provide the necessary support to enhance national security.
He 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 Aviation.
Citing numerous equipment and facilities provided to boost the capability of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the president pledged that special intervention will be made to fast-track the activation of the Nigerian Army Aviation.
His words: ‘‘Additionally, is the acquisition of platforms for the Army Aviation which has been considered in the 2023 Budget.
‘‘This modernization drive would be vigorously sustained as efforts are also being made to reform our indigenous military industrial complex, through partnership with our allies.
‘‘I am optimistic that this objective will be achieved soon to make us self-reliant in meeting our defence needs.”
Buhari urged the military to maintain the tempo in all theatres and double its efforts in information gathering to comprehensively defeat all forms of security threats facing the nation.