President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday reassured Nigerians of their safety under his administration, promising that he remained committed to fighting insecurity, especially insurgency.
He spoke in Kaduna where he unveiled additional Made-in-Nigeria Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles for the Nigerian Army.
The vehicles, code-named Ezugwu MRAP, will be used for counter-insurgency operations by the army.
They were produced by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, an indigenous company.
The President launched the vehicles at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference.
Reassuring Nigerians of their safety, Buhari said, ‘‘This is a commitment we have made and will continue to keep.”
On Ezugwu MRAP, the President commended DICON and the several bodies that collaborated to produce them.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted him further, ‘‘I note the collaborative efforts of the Command Engineering Depot with relevant indigenous organisations to promote local content towards developing our military-industrial complex.
“I am glad that the production of Ezugwu MRAP vehicles, which I will be unveiling today (Tuesday), will join the infantry patrol vehicles that were earlier produced as a testimony that our efforts are yielding positive results.
“Additionally, your efforts in terms of capacity building, training and conduct of exercises are quite commendable.
‘‘I am aware that there are ongoing field exercises such as Atilogwu, UDO 1, Exercise Akpatuma 2 and Exercise Crocodile Smile 4, among other civil-military cooperation activities.
“These are impressive efforts geared at enhancing the operational efficiency of the army as well as facilitating a conducive security environment for social and economic activities to thrive.’’
Buhari also praised the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, saying that he liked the way he transformed the army.
He said of Buratai, “He has keyed into the Federal Government’s Change Agenda and I particularly commend his thrust in the critical areas such as innovative and inventive approach to produce military hardware, infrastructural development, restructuring and reorganisations, among others, with significant results particularly in the ongoing counterinsurgency operations and other operations across the country.”
The Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.), acknowledged Buhari’s support for the military, stating that the final routing of Boko Haram would be achieved in 2020.
He said, “The Nigerian Army has had a hectic year with a lot of operations conducted to secure the territorial integrity of Nigeria. There is a need for a review of activities during this annual conference to prepare for next year’s final onslaught on Boko Haram.”
On his part, Buratai said the current status of the army was achieved after a transformation commenced in 2015.