Even as insecurity has continued to shred Nigeria into pieces, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that over 60,000 soldiers were recruited under his watch, insisting that his administration funded the military to ensure an increase in the fighting power of the Nigerian Army.
Buhari said this at the Nigerian Army Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade 2023 on Thursday, at Eagles Square in Abuja. Other dignitaries present are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
Also in attendance were the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, members of the National Executive Council, among others.
The media reports that the 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. It is usually conducted once in 15 to 20 years as desired by the country’s armed forces but the last time such a parade was conducted in Nigeria was in 2007 when 32 units/regiments were issued with new colours.
Thursday’s event saw the retiring and replacing 53 units’ regimental colours and issuance of 28 new ones for newly established units. Speaking at the event, Buhari said, “Our interventions and budgetary allocation to the army between 2020 and 2022 alone has been 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 artillery guns, machine guns, rifles and correspondent ammunition were acquired and inducted into various theatres of operations. This will lead to significant increment in the animal equipment holding since 2015 with a significant improvement in the fighting power as a result of the procurement of equipment and mission specific training.”
The President further noted that the army had restructured the conduct of its operations to meet current realities, saying the quantum of platforms induced into the army since 2015 had enabled troops to take the battle to the terrorists and criminals, particularly in the North-East. He added, “As an administration, we have demonstrated commitment to increase the strength of the armed forces in my resolve to secure the country against all challenges.
“It is instructive to state that from 2015, when I was sworn in as the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, I facilitated the recruitment of over 60,000 soldiers for the Nigerian army aside thousands of commissioned officers from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.
“In the area of troops welfare, this administration has facilitated the approval of the Manual for Financial Administration which has greatly enhanced the pay and allowances of troops. This has no doubt boosted the troops morale and enhanced the deal. To discharge their constitutional mandate.
“Furthermore, in my resolve to cater for the families of disease personnel, over 50,000 children and wards of personnel who died in active service on the Nigerian Army Scholarship from 2015 to date. In terms of infrastructural development, this administration has made determined efforts to surmount the deficit in accommodation and other amenities.”
Buhari added that the trooping and presentation of colours parade was significant considering the establishment and operationalisation of new units in line with the army’s increasing operational commitments. “Today’s ceremony is a continuation of our efforts to reinvigorate the fighting secret of our troops through the inculcation of greater pride in their units.
“Let me use this medium to sincerely recommend the officers and men of the army, all members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies for their exceptional performance in various operations across the country. Since the inception of this administration, the nation’s security situation was greatly challenged by the activities of violent non-state actors.
“Today, I am pleased to specifically note that the situation has tremendously improved, and I wish to also proudly highlight that we have made remarkable progress in the fight against insurgents, militants, oil bunkers, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the country.”