I am delighted to be in your midst today in Gusau, Zamfara State to witness the Grand Finale of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2016. I am particularly glad with the choice of Gusau for the conduct of this exercise and for the wisdom of incorporating a live Field Training Exercise into the celebration to clear remnants of cattle rustlers and armed bandits terrifying innocent citizens in this general area.
The remarkable success recorded during the conduct of the exercise has no doubt served the purpose and aptly drive the realization of the theme of the celebration which is, Optimizing the Capability of the Nigerian Army to meet Contemporary Security Challenges.
I sympathize with the people of this area for the enormous losses they suffered as a result of the incessant activities of the insurgents and cattle rustlers whose actions have made farming, livestock management and other economic activities more difficult even in the face of the general economic challenges.
I am quite optimistic that the operations of the last few days will surely lead to the restoration of economic activities of surrounding communities bedevilled for some time now by the menace of cattle rustling and banditry.
I therefore commend the Chief of Army Staff for this foresight and initiative and for mobilizing adequate resources to ensure precision in the conduct of the exercise. I also applaud the collaboration with sister services and other security agencies in order to degrade and decimate the miscreants. I urge you to intensify and perfect current strategies, approaches, techniques and tactics towards curtailing all forms of lawlessness across the country.
It is quite gratifying to inspect the equipment displayed which showcased the robust capability of the Nigerian Army to ward off internal and external aggression against the nation. The Command Post Exercise also reminds me of the importance of staff work in the field during the civil war in the 60s and the Chadian Operations in the 80s.
I am pleased at the dexterity, prowess and level of professionalism displayed by various components including the combat airborne jump by personnel of the Nigerian Army supported by the Nigerian Air Force. I am quite confident that the Nigerian Armed Forces have been amply repositioned more than ever before to resolutely confront contemporary and emerging security challenges in the country.
The involvement of private partners in the defence sector especially in terms of provision of specialist equipment under the Public Private Partnership is a welcome development. I urge the Armed Forces to leverage on this opportunity towards enhancing capacity.
On the part of the Government, let me assure you of our resolve and continued support to enhance the operational efficiency of the Nigerian Armed Forces to effectively discharge their constitutional roles. We remain committed to ensuring that you are provided with the required resources and impetus to operate professionally and efficiently.
Finally, I congratulate all the award recipients for their outstanding contributions to the successes recorded by the Nigerian Army. I urge all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army to sustain the current tempo. I also congratulate the Nigerian Army for its one hundred and fifty three (153) years of noble and purposeful existence and for being a critical instrument of national unity, cohesion and integration. We look forward to better days ahead.