President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday reiterated his administration’s resolve to do everything within its constitutional power to ensure the security and safety of Nigerians.
The president spoke on a day the Department of State Services (DSS) raised the alarm that some unnamed groups were planning to destabilise the country.
Buhari, while declaring open the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference in Kaduna, applauded the gallantry of personnel of the Nigerian Army in tackling insurgents, saying he was impressed with the conduct of operations, which led to the continuous routing of terrorists from their hiding places.
“I salute the gallantry efforts of the personnel of the Nigerian Army. I am highly impressed with the conduct of your operations by continuing to flush out terrorists from their hiding places.
“The conceptualisation and institution of the concept of Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre has maintained the momentum against terrorists. I urge you to sustain this great effort,” he said.
The president, who noted that the Nigerian Army is a critical element of national power, said there was no doubt that a lot had been achieved by the army since his assumption of office as the president in 2015.
He said: “This administration has continued to provide resources and carried out transformational projects with the sole aim of modernising the army to perform its constitutional roles.
“In this regard it is pertinent to acknowledge the establishment of Army University, Biu and the Army Resources Centre alongside the War College to further boost intellectual capacity in the forces.
“These are efforts to confront emerging threats to our national security.”
He said he noted the collaborative efforts of the Command Engineering Depot with relevant indigenous organisations to promote local contents towards developing the military industrial complex, adding that he was glad with the production of the Ezugwu Mine Resistant vehicle and others, which were earlier produced as testimony that the nation’s efforts were yielding results.
Praising the army for conducting regular exercises and trainings, he enjoined soldiers to continue to abide by their ethics and keep to the rules of engagement and code of conduct, while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws were promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations.
Buhari commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, for transforming the Nigerian Army.
“He has keyed into the federal government’s change agenda and I commend his job in the area of innovative and inventive approach to produce military hardware, infrastructural development, restructuring and reorganisation among others with significant results, particularly in the ongoing counter insurgency and other operations across the country.
“This government will continue to support the army to sustain these laudable initiatives aimed at repositioning you to deal with contemporary security challenges and to achieve a modern army of the future,” he said.
Earlier, Buratai said the transformation of the Nigerian Army commenced immediately Buhari was sworn in 2015 following massive support from his government.
He said the annual COAS conference was to evaluate and review the activities of the army and prepare for the task ahead of 2020 and beyond.
The president also inaugurated the upgraded ultra modern 44 Nigerian Army Referral Hospital, Kaduna, which has been equipped with world class equipment.
Meanwhile, the DSS yesterday accused some unnamed groups of plotting to destabilise the country.
The DSS said the groups planned to cause a breakdown of law and order in various parts of the country and Abuja.
The security agency, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said the groups planned to instigate protests, mass action and violence in order to unleash mayhem on the populace.
Its alarm came just as the federal government reaffirmed its commitment to ending impunity and facilitating recourse to justice for victims as well as ensuring punishment for those who break the laws.
The DSS said the unlawful plans were to be carried out simultaneously in major cities across the country.
It said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) has uncovered syndicated plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in various parts of the country, including Abuja.
“The arrangement is to instigate protests, mass action and violence with a view to causing anarchy and destabilising the country.
“These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks.
“This is more so that the plotters are also targeting the yuletide seasons to accomplish their sinister motives.”
It, therefore, warned those it labeled as anti-democratic elements to desist from such plans or face the wrath of the law.
It said security agents were on the alert to ensure the maintenance of law and order before, during and after the Christmas celebrations.
“Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts.
“Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble,” it said.
The agency also urged heads of academic and public institutions to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order.
“The service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods.
“Law-abiding citizens are equally encouraged to go about their normal businesses without fear but report any suspected persons or breach of peace to the nearest security office to them,” the statement added.