OPENING ADDRESS BY THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF LT GEN I ATTAHIRU NAM GSS CMH ndc (K) psc (+) FCMH AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE COMBINED CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF FIRST QUARTER CONFERENCE AND NIGERIAN ARMY OPERATIONS RETREAT 2021 HELD AT ARMY HEADQUARTERS COMMAND OFFICERS’ MESS ASOKORO ABUJA ON 29 MARCH 2021
1. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess, Abuja for the combined Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and the Nigerian Army Operations Retreat 2021. As my maiden conference since assuming command as the Chief of Army Staff on 28 January 2021, this event offers ample opportunity: for us to brainstorm and interact on the state of affairs of the Nigerian Army, review our activities for first quarter 2021 while also planning for our training and operational commitments in the Second Quarter of the Year.
2. As you are well aware, I and my colleagues the other Service Chiefs took over command of our respective Services at a very critical period when the nation is facing daunting security challenges characteristic of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. This was rightly highlighted by the Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, during his first meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs. During the meeting, the President gave us marching orders to decisively deal with all security challenges facing the country.
3. In line with the President’s directive and my intent to rebuild the Nigerian Army into a formidable force, I conceived the vision of having “A Nigerian Army that is Repositioned to Professionally Defeat all Adversaries in Joint Environment.” To breathe life into this vision, I released my Philosophy of Command which has Readiness, Capacity, Continuous Leadership Development and Duty to Country as cardinal pillars. Readiness entails mission-oriented training, functional manning and equipping while Capacity will be built on the dependability of the Nigerian Army to accomplish any mission in line with norms enshrined in our core values and ethics. Continuous leadership development on its own will ensure that the Nigerian Army continues to roll out innovative 21st century commanders and of course Duty to Country entails loyalty and sacrifice to our fatherland. As formation commanders and Principal Staff Officers, your role is critical to the attainment of my vision. Therefore, I implore all of you to immediately key into the vision so that together, we can take the Nigerian Army to greater heights.
4. I am particularly pleased with the initiative to hold the Nigerian Army Operations Retreat as part of the First Quarter Conference after so many years. You will agree with me, that the retreat provides a platform to reassess the threat environment and review our operations with a view to identifying gaps that could be addressed in the planning and conduct of future operations. In this regard, I want to state that the Nigerian Army under my watch will remain resolute in decisively dealing with any threat confronting the country. Hence, I have directed that serious attention must be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country. Commanders must therefore glean from my Command Philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of Nigerian Army formations and units are sustained and improved upon.
5. I am aware of logistics constraints affecting operations across the country and I am glad to inform you that the President, Commander in Chief has pledged to continue to support the Nigerian Army. As I speak, we will soon be receiving combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations. Concerted effort is also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations in OP LAFIYA DOLE. Again, in order to increase our operational capabilities, I have approved the purchase of spare parts and directed that all damaged and unserviceable equipment in the theatre be back loaded for immediate repairs.
6. I want to assure you that I am determined in rebuilding the fighting skills, capacity, confidence and morale of our troops across the various theatres of operations. In order to achieve this, my top priorities for the second and third quarters of the year would be training. I will ensure that through functional training, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are equipped with the right competences and skills to effectively undertake daring missions in addition to developing special operations forces. This would be closely followed by procurement that ensures appropriate kitting and provision of protective gear, weapons, equipment and platforms. Administration is a key principle of war, hence troops’ welfare will also be given paramount attention. Let me however remind you all, that while no effort will be spared in achieving these goals, it is command responsibility to ensure the sustenance and maintenance of all equipment while measures must be emplaced to ensure sound administration of troops and their families.
7. At this juncture, let me appreciate all the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army for their unrelenting sacrifice and efforts in ensuring that the Nigerian Army fulfils its constitutional responsibilities. However, as the saying goes, the only easy day was yesterday, as such, I will continue to demand that you redouble your efforts so that we can decisively deal with our adversaries or any group or person that threatens. The peace and stability of our great nation. So doing, we will achieve our end state of ensuring a peaceful and stable Nigeria. I will also be using this conference and the operations retreat to unveil my strategic plan for the year 2021, where I will be giving very clear directives of what I expect from all of you. Therefore, I expect to see directives emanating from these events and subsequently from Army headquarters translate immediately into proactive courses of action that will find solutions and deal with our numerous security challenges.
8. At this point, I wish to humbly convey my gratitude to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari (Grand Commander of the Federal Republic) for his unrelenting support to the Nigerian Army. I want to use this platform to again pledge my unalloyed loyalty and that of every officer and soldier of the Nigerian Army to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to the President Commander in Chief.
9. Once again, I welcome all the participants, especially our esteem guests and retired senior colleagues whom we have specially invited in order to glean from their wealth of experience. I am convinced that at the end of this conference and the operations retreat, we would have a road map that will address the threats facing the country.
10. On this note, it is my honour and privilege to declare the Combined Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and Nigerian Army Operations Retreat 2021 open.
11. Thank you and God bless.