Defend Nigeria with your lives – Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, charges the Military

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Amidst several security challenges in the country, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has warned the Military Officers and men, that beyond taking pride in their uniform and weapons, they must defend Nigeria with their lives.
Osinbajo made this known while reviewing Officers at the passing out parade of the Direct Short Service Course 28 of 2019, comprising 187 new Officers, which held at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base, in Kaduna, describing Military career, which is to defend the territorial integrity of the country, as the most civic service.

According to him, beyond earning salary and getting a chance to wear a coveted uniform, the Military should put their lives on the line for the safety and welfare of Nigerians.

He however, told the new Military Officers that Nigeria is still grappling with insurgency in the North-East, and kidnapping and banditry in other parts of the country. Osinbajo said that given the security challenges confronting the nation, the new Officers would soon be busy, fulfilling their responsibilities to the Military and the country.

He said: “As you already know, this profession you have chosen requires absolute discipline, loyalty and hard work. It is much more than just securing a job, or earning a salary; and more than just getting the chance to wear a coveted uniform or wield coveted weapons.

“This is the ultimate form of civic service to defend the territorial integrity of your country, and to put your life on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of your countrymen and women. There is no nobler occupation than this one you have chosen.

“You are passing out at a time when our nation is grappling with an insurgency in the North-East, and the challenges of kidnapping and banditry in other parts of the country. You will therefore, have come to terms with the fact that the days and weeks and months ahead of you, will be extremely busy, as you fulfill your responsibilities to the Military and the nation.

“While the Armed Forces have effectively contained the territorial ambitions of the boko haram terrorists, by substantially degrading their capacity to attack and wreak havoc, they remain intent on shedding blood and sowing fear.

“There is also the threat of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), in the Lake Chad Islands and part of Southern Borno.
“Also, more often these days, these insurgents are focusing on soft targets, opportunistic attacks on isolated Military Units, as well as an increasingly sophisticated propaganda, aimed at making them out to be more organised and lethal than they really are.

“This ever-increasing reliance on propaganda is a reminder that this is not only a ‘battleground’ war; it is just as much an information-and-narrative war. Winning hearts and minds has always been important in Military warfare; it is even more so in a century defined by information and communication technologies.

“As 21st-century Military Officers, how you project your strength and confidence to your enemies and the world, especially using social and digital media tools, is as important as the sophistication of the conventional arms and ammunition that you wield.

“But to do so effectively, also means that you must take the time and trouble to fully understand the nature of the threats that confront us, the narratives and philosophies that underlie those threats”, the Vice President stated.

Osinbajo told the Officers, that President Muhammadu Buhari, in collaboration with the Governors, has been reviewing the security architecture of the country, which involves not just the Armed Forces but also the Police, who have recently announced their community policing strategy.

He said: “This initiative involves the recruitment and training of Policemen in each Local Government, and ensuring that such new Policemen remain in their Local Governments, working with local and traditional authorities, to maintain peace and security.

“As the President has said, security is a 24-hour occupation, involving continuous investments in strategy and innovation. We will continue to take all necessary measures to tackle all forms of criminality across the country, and to safeguard lives and property of all Nigerians.

“The Nigerian Air Force will as part of the Armed Forces, continue to be at the forefront of our national security interventions. I note in particular, the extremely successful digitally accurate bombings of terrorist hideouts in April, that led to the destruction of boko haram mechanic workshop in Borno.

“In May, there were airstrikes on Tumbun Hamma, on the fringes of Lake Chad, inflicting heavy casualties on ISWAP Forces under Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole; while in June, airstrikes on Sambisa Forest further eliminated insurgents.

“It is particularly commendable that you are adopting measures to ensure that the resources available to you are used judiciously; in a manner that delivers optimal results and maximum value for money.

“This nation is great, and can only become greater. We are Africa’s largest economy by GDP – States of Nigeria have larger economies than many African States. We have become the last frontier for major economic growth.

“Microsoft has announced that it will establish a 100 million dollar African Develop Centre, in Nigeria. We are already building our own drones. But not only are we building drones, we are also making spare parts for our aircraft. We are also manufacturing armoured personnel carriers, and all sorts of different Military platforms.

“All of these are things that Nigerians are doing in this country. Just last week, we saw at the Army Day, sophisticated mine sweepers that are manufactured in this country. In a few short years, this country will be by far, the greatest Military Force in Africa, and certainly the most developed economy in Africa.

“All of these have been built on the sacrifices of many in blood and sweat, especially men and women of the Armed Forces. What will undermine our efforts now and in the future, is disunity; all of those who are preaching narratives of divisions along ethnic and religious lines. We must resist all who try to destroy our present gains, and in particular, our future.

“The future of our country is bright; all we need to do is to keep focus, not to allow any to preach any division among us. If we remain stable and united, everything that we desire for our great country, will be ours”, Osinbajo said.