‘Defend Nigeria with your lives’ – VP Yemi Osinbajo tells the military

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerian military officers to take pride in defending the country as they take pride in adorning their beautiful uniform.

He said the military career, which is meant to defend the territorial integrity of the country, is the most civic service to the nation. The Vice-President noted that it is beyond just earning salary and getting a chance to wear the coveted uniform. Osinbajo said it is about putting their lives on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of Nigerians.

The Vice-President stated this as the Reviewing Officer at the passing out parade of 187 new officers who were commissioned at this year’s Direct Short Service Course 28 at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Kaduna. He told the new military officers that Nigeria was still grappling with several security challenges.

He said: “As you already know, this profession you have chosen requires absolute discipline, loyalty and hard work. It is much more than just securing a job or earning a salary. It is more than just getting the chance to wear a coveted uniform or wield coveted weapons. This is the ultimate form of civic service to defend the territorial integrity of your country and to put your life on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of your country men and women. There is no nobler occupation than this one you have chosen.”

“You are passing out at a time our nation is grappling with an insurgency in the Northeast and the challenges of kidnapping and armed banditry in other parts of the country. You will, therefore, have come to terms with the fact that the days and weeks and months ahead of you will be extremely busy as you fulfil your responsibilities to the military and the nation.

“While the Armed Forces have effectively contained the territorial ambitions of the Boko Haram terrorists by substantially degrading their capacity to attack and wreak havoc, they remain intent on shedding blood and sowing fear. There is also the threat of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the Lake Chad Islands and part of Southern Borno.

“Also, more often these days, these insurgents are focusing on soft targets, opportunistic attacks on isolated military units, as well as on increasingly sophisticated propaganda aimed at making them to look more organised and lethal than they really are. This ever-increasing reliance on propaganda is a reminder that this is not only a ‘battleground’ war; it is just as much an information-and-narrative war. Winning hearts and minds has always been important in military warfare; it is even more so in a century defined by information and communication technologies.

“As 21st century military officers, how you project your strength and confidence to your enemies and the world, especially using social and digital media tools, is as important as the sophistication of the conventional arms and ammunition that you wield. But to do so effectively also means that you must take the time and trouble to fully understand the nature of the threats that confront us, the narrative and philosophies that underlie those threats.”

Osinbajo said the President, in collaboration with governors, had been reviewing the security architecture of the country. He added: “This initiative involves the recruitment and training of policemen in each local government and ensuring that such new policemen remain in their local governments, working with local and traditional authorities to maintain peace and security.

“As the President has said, security is a 24-hour occupation involving continuous investments in strategy and innovation. We will continue to take all necessary measures to tackle all forms of criminality across the country and safeguard lives and property of all Nigerians.”

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