CLOSING REMARKS BY LT GEN TY BURATAI (N/7630) NAM OOM(BR) GSS psc(+) ndc (BD) FCMH FNHAM BA(Hons) MA MPhil D(h.c.) AT THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF OPERATIONS CONFERENCE HELD AT ARMY HEADQUARTERS COMMAND MESS ABUJA FROM 3 – 5 FEBRUARY 2019
I am truly honoured to stand before you once again to close the activities of this COAS Operations Conference. I am sure it has been a worthwhile experience for all of us and we are better informed about the enormity of the task before the NA during the forthcoming elections. Like I said at the start of this conference, the task before us is a critical one that requires the delicate balance of our expertise, manpower and resources to ensure that we do not fail the Nation. More importantly, Nigerians do not deserve to die or have their properties destroyed to achieve the desire of any politician, so we must ensure a secure environment before, during and after the Elections.
Those of you gathered here whether as PSOs, GOCs, field commanders or staff officers will play important roles in ensuring a secure environment for the 2019 General Elections and hence your actions must re-echo the NA’s stand on non-partisanship. Let me reiterate that I do not want to see the events that befell some of our colleagues in the past, repeat itself. I have worked very closely with many of you and my charge to you all is to remain neutral, apolitical, non-partisan and transparent in all your actions. This message must also be conveyed to all officers and soldiers under command for strict compliance.
During the intelligence brief, we were informed about some of the likely fallouts from the 2019 General Elections and how this may likely affect our operations in the field was stressed. I noted the well analysed intelligence and general security brief that highlighted our likely security challenges. The well thought out recommendations must therefore be strictly adhered to. The need for commanders to be transparent and act on intelligence to avert any ugly incidence is paramount. The innovation to use the NACWC for real time (web-based) Situational Awareness Platform for Monitoring Elections 2019 is laudable and that it will assist field commanders to react promptly. Similarly, the policy on the use of social media must be strictly enforced hence; all commanders involved in Op LAFIYA DOLE, Op EGWU EKE III and Op SAFE CONDUCT must be proactive if we are to succeed. All commanders must have a complete change of attitude and see intelligence inputs as a necessity for success and not a burden. Commanders must take firm decisions and be prepared to defend their choice of actions in unforeseen circumstances.
The progress reports for Ex EGWU EKE III and preparations for Op SAFE CONDUCT have been very well received. There is no doubt that the atmosphere in the Country is tensed but own troops activities nationwide has helped to dislodge criminal camps, arrest of suspects and arms. I am happy to note that the level of preparation across formations appears to be in order. However, these plans must be implemented with even greater spirit and enthusiasm to ensure we maintain a proactive and deterrent posture through the period of the general elections. I will make every effort to provide logistics requirements that are lacking in your formations but commanders must show better flexibility and resource management in order to produce results.
Our activities in Op LAFIYA DOLE and other operations across the country are areas that require our resolute determination. Defending a location is good but attacking an adversary camp is better because it will lead to other possibilities such as equipment capture, demoralizing the enemy, denying the adversary logistics support, intelligence gathering on adversary habits, disposition and future plans. Hence commanders must now focus on information gathering through patrols, raids, ambushes, night operations and outright attacks on enemy camps. Like I had mentioned earlier, it all comes down to leadership among senior and junior commanders. A Commander who is unwilling to carry the battle to the enemy or who withdraws before the battle is joined does not deserve to remain in this profession. I am glad to note the reorganization and plans of the fighting force in Op LAFIYA DOLE to stabilize and dominate the theatre. I will want to urge you all to recommit yourselves to true leadership and do all you can to raise the fighting spirit among your troops. On my part as your COAS, efforts will be made to provide the necessary resources as required in mission command philosophy for success in battle.
I have listened with keen interest and impressed by the comments and contributions made by most of you. It gives me hope that there are better days ahead for the Nigerian Army. As commissioned officers on Oath to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our actions in and out of uniform must not be skewed towards any political, religious, social or ethnic group we must remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of our constitutional roles.Let me also express my happiness at the smooth organization and conduct of this conference. I want to commend the Principal Staff Officers at the AHQ and indeed field commanders in the synergy in executing NA operations and training across the country. I urge field commanders to emulate GOC 2 Div on the need to prepare troops for operations and support the COAS efforts to ensure our troops are administratively catered for. As we leave here please pass down all directives and decisions. In addition, note that our operations is in support of civil authorities for this 2019 General Election and must be apolitical and devoid of human rights concerns hence strict compliance to the contents of the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement must be enforced.
Finally, I wish to once again express the NA’s respect and profound gratitude to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, for his immeasurable support to the NA. It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare the COAS Operational Conference closed. I wish you all safe return to your locations. Thank you all and God bless.