President Muhammadu Buhari has averred that the fighting power of the Nigerian Army, which was at a low ebb when he assumed office as Commander-in-Chief, has increased significantly making it fourth in ranking among African militaries as against seventh in 2015.
President Buhari made the assertion today during the occasion of the Nigerian Army Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade 2023, held at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
He noted that at the inception of his administration, the nation’s security situation was greatly challenged by the activities of violent non-state actors, but that the situation has tremendously improved as remarkable progress has been made in the fight against insurgents, militants, oil bunkerers, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the country.
He further stated that the improvements in the areas of fighting power, training, operations, manpower, remunerations and medical services, as well as maintenance efficiency, accommodation and expansion of forces, have collectively enhanced the Army’s capacity to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate.
President Buhari attributed the Army’s enhanced capacity to his administration’s interventions and yearly budgetary allocations to the Service between 2020 and 2022, with which they were able to procure hundreds of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, Troops Carrying Vehicles, utility vehicles, tanks and Armoured Personnel Carriers to augment those earlier procured.
“From 2017 to 2022, significant numbers of new fighting and utility vehicles along with supporting artillery guns, machine guns, rifles and corresponding ammunition were acquired and inducted into various theatres of operations. This translates to significant increment in the Army’s equipment holding since 2015”, he said.
Accordingly, he said, the Army has restructured the conduct of its operations to meet current realities, adding that, “the quantum of platforms inducted into the Army since 2015 had enabled troops to take the battle to the terrorists and criminals, particularly in the North East resulting in the recapture of territories hitherto held by the insurgents”.
According to the President, the unprecedented successes are evident in the increased number of neutralized insurgents and those that voluntarily surrendered alongside their families for radicalization and rehabilitation through Operation SAFE CORRIDOR.
Speaking on troops’ welfare, President Buhari said that his administration has facilitated the approval of Manual for Financial Administration which has greatly enhanced the pay and allowances of troops, which has no doubt boosted troops’ morale and enhanced their zeal to discharge their constitutional mandate.
“Furthermore, in line with my resolve to cater for the families of deceased personnel, over 50,000 children and wards of personnel who died in active service are on the Nigerian Army scholarships from 2015 to date”, he said.
In terms of infrastructural development, Buhari disclosed his administration’s determined efforts to surmount the deficit in accommodation and other amenities, noting that as the strength of the Army increased, special interventions were made to construct new barracks accommodation and renovate the old ones.
He said that while hundreds of new blocks of accommodation were constructed and thousands of the old housing units were renovated and remodeled in various formations and units across the country between 2016 and 2022, massive construction works are currently ongoing in the new Muhammadu Buhari Barracks, Abuja and other barracks to provide the requisite offices, houses and facilities to cater for the increasing strength of the Army personnel.
President Buhari expressed gratitude to the Chief of Defence Staff, all the other Service Chiefs and heads of all para- military organizations for their commitment and selfless service to this nation, without which, “the Nigerian Army that we celebrate today, would not have been able to discharge its responsibilities optimally”.
Trooping and presentation of colours parade is conducted when retiring the old colours of a regiment/unit and presenting the regiment/unit with a new one.
The 2023 Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade witnessed the retiring and replacing of 53 unit colours and the issuance of 28 new ones.
The colours are presented to Combat and combat support units or Regiments that are newly established and operationalised units whose colours are damaged, old or worn out.
The occasion of the 2023 Nigerian Army Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade was graced by former heads of state, members of the Federal Executive Council, members of the diplomatic Corps, Senior officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association, the media and members of the public.