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Chief of Army Staff commends sacrifices of over 50,000 Soldiers, outlines plans for improved 2024 and secure drawdown



Chief of Army Staff commends sacrifices of over 50,000 Soldiers, outlines plans for improved 2024 and secure drawdown

In a special luncheon organized for frontline troops of the 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Lt.-Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), lauded the dedication and sacrifices of more than 50,000 soldiers currently engaged in peacekeeping operations across Nigeria. The internal security operations encompass counter-terrorism efforts in the North East, separatist operations in the South East, and the ongoing battle against oil theft in the South South region.


Represented by Maj.-Gen. Kevin Aligbe, Commander of the Training and Doctrine Command, Nigeria Army, Lagbaja expressed gratitude to the troops who have foregone the comforts of the holiday season to ensure the safety and peace of Nigerians. He acknowledged that these soldiers, stationed in challenging and remote areas, will miss celebrating Christmas and the New Year in person with their families, emphasizing their duty-bound commitment to stand guard while others rejoice.


“To these gallant warriors, I say thank you for your sacrifice,” remarked Lagbaja, recognizing the immense contributions of these soldiers to national security.


Looking ahead to 2024, Lagbaja outlined the Federal Government’s programs aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the Nigerian Army and the nation as a whole. He disclosed that the Army expects to receive helicopters and other combat enablers, fostering a more secure environment across the country. Additionally, he highlighted various welfare projects initiated by the Army Headquarters to directly impact the lives of soldiers and their families.


Emphasizing the importance of troops’ well-being, Lagbaja affirmed the commitment to providing personnel with necessary resources and support for effective duty execution. He expressed his passion for returning troops home to their families and detailed actionable steps, including engaging other security agencies to take over constitutional roles from the army, to ensure a safe drawdown of soldiers from armed conflicts.


“In the coming year, we look forward to creating a more stable condition that will allow for a drawdown in the strength of troops deployed on internal security operations across the country,” stated Lagbaja. He underscored the intention to build the capacity of statutory security agencies to effectively handle internal security, enabling the army to recalibrate efforts toward the primary constitutional duty of ensuring territorial integrity.


Earlier in the luncheon, Maj.-Gen. Jamaal Abdussalam, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Nigeria Army, expressed appreciation to the troops for their sacrifices and contributions to the ongoing oil theft and illegal bunkering operations in the Niger Delta. He highlighted the positive impact of these efforts on the persistent increase in oil production and assured continued support for the Federal Government’s oil output target for 2024.


Despite operational hazards, including the loss of lives and equipment, Abdussalam emphasized the division’s commitment to conducting operations in line with global best practices and adherence to fundamental human rights. He pledged to apprehend and prosecute the gunmen responsible for ambushing and killing four soldiers in Ahoada council of the state.


Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers, represented by his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Ordu, commended the sacrifices of the Nigerian Army and pledged the state government’s support for security agencies in Rivers State.


In conclusion, the luncheon not only served as an occasion to appreciate the sacrifices of over 50,000 soldiers but also provided insight into the strategic vision of the Nigerian Army for 2024. The commitment to improving capabilities, enhancing welfare, and ensuring a secure drawdown underscores the complex challenges faced by the military and the delicate balance between national security and soldiers’ well-being. As the army navigates these challenges, the luncheon stands as a symbol of recognition and gratitude for the tireless efforts of those on the frontline, ensuring the safety and security of the nation.

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