By Sumaila Ogbaje
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday virtually inaugurated the headquarters of Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command and housing scheme for the next-of-kin of fallen officers and soldiers in Abuja.
He also inaugurated the cyber warfare Operations centre and cyber warfare school located at Muhammadu Buhari Cantonment, Giri, Abuja.
The inauguration was in commemoration of the 2020 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference with the theme; “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles”.
Buhari commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts at restoring law and order in the country and curtailing large-scale criminality during the recent #ENDSARS protests.
The Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd) said the COAS conference was aimed at reviewing the operational readiness of Nigerian army during the year.
He said that it would also help in generating new strategies for enhanced operational efficiency of army personnel in the coming year.
Magashi said the year 2020 had been a challenging one, saying that while the COVID-19 pandemic caused major destruction globally, the nation’s security challenges that threatened the safety and security of its citizens persisted.
According to him, Nigeria has continued to witness incidences of violence and criminality arising from Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, banditry and cattle rustling in the North West, farmers-herders conflict in the North Central as well as kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery in the South.
“The armed forces of Nigeria and the Nigerian army in particular have been in the forefront of efforts to restore peace in the country.
“In this regard, I commend the effort of the Nigerian army in the North East which has led to a gradual return of internally displaced persons to their communities in furtherance of the resettlement plans of the Borno State government.
“I also note the successes that are being recorded in the North West especially after the launch of Exercise Sahel Sanity earlier this year.
“I urge you all to use this conference to device strategy towards the total decimation of all inimical forces in the coming year,” he said.
The minister pledged that the ministry would continue to work with the services to ameliorate the sufferings of the families of the deceased personnel, adding that their sacrifices were well appreciated.
He urged the service chiefs not to relent in their efforts toward the accomplishment of their assigned roles.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the conference, being the sixth in the series had over the years helped in shaping the state of affairs in Nigerian army.
Buratai said that the vision of Buhari was to have highly trained responsive and professional army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.
He said the vision had been largely achieved with Nigerian army evolving strategies in dealing with the myriads of security challenges confronting the country.
He said that while the year had been quite challenging due to the outbreak of COVID-19, his strategic direction for the year 2020 had enabled the service to confront the various challenges with professionalism.
According to him, this has been largely achieved with the Nigerian army currently well poised to tackle myriad of contemporary and numerous security threats.
“I am happy to note that my strategic directive from the year 2020 which is to sustain the professionalism and responsiveness of Nigerian army in the discharge of constitutional role provided a point of reference which enable us to adopt quickly with numerous impact.
“In a bid to enhance our overall performance, attempts were made throughout the year to evaluate our activities and efforts toward positioning the Nigerian Army to achieve the tasks ahead in the year 2021 and beyond,” he said.
Buratai said the cyber warfare command was a child of necessity in tackling the security challenges in the country, adding that the command since inception in 2017, contributed to operational successes of the army.
He added that the new facilities being inaugurated would enhance the operation of the command going forward.