President Muhammadu Buhari had said that the Nigeria Army’s fighting power has significantly improved in the last seven years in addition to recruitment of over 60,000 soldiers and thousands of commissioned officers.
He also said his administration’s commitment to strengthening the Army led to its ranking as the fourth in Africa.
The President disclosed this in his remarks at the Nigerian Army Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade 2023 in Abuja on Thursday.
“As an administration, we have demonstrated commitment to increase the strength of the Armed Forces in my resolve to secure the country from all challenges. It is instructive to state that from 2015 when I was sworn in as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, I facilitated the recruitment of over 60,000 soldiers from Depot Nigerian Army aside thousands commissioned from the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna,” the President said.
He noted that the fighting power of the Army was at low ebb as at May 2015 when he assumed command.
“However, 7 years later, its fighting power has increased significantly making it fourth in ranking among African militaries as against seventh in 2015.
“Our interventions and yearly budgetary allocations to the Army between 2020 and 2022 alone, have 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 supporting artillery guns, machine guns, rifles and corresponding ammunition were acquired and inducted into various theatres of operations. This translates to significant increment in the Army’s equipment holding since 2015,” Buhari added.
He said with the significant improvement in the fighting power as a result of the procurement of equipment and mission specific training, “the Army was empowered to rejig its operations. Accordingly, the Army has restructured the conduct of its operations to meet current realities.”
He said the quantum of platforms inducted into the Army since 2015 had enabled troops to take the battle to the terrorists and criminals, particularly in the North-East resulting in the recapture of territories hitherto held by the insurgents.
“The efforts of the troops leading to unprecedented successes was evident in the increased number of neutralized insurgents and those that voluntarily surrendered alongside their families for radicalization and rehabilitation through Operation SAFE CORRIDOR.
“This feat has continued to be replicated in other theatres of operation within the country leading to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons to their ancestral homes and restoration of economic activities in addition to the contribution of the Nigerian Army to global peace through Peace Support Operations,” he stated.
He noted that the creation of the Army Aviation was one of the major aspects of the ongoing expansion process in the Nigerian Army.
“The renewed vigour for the operationalization of the Army Aviation emanated from a strong desire to effectively tackle contemporary security challenges across the country. This unit, when fully operationalized, will provide rapid deployment, close air support, casualty evacuation, prompt delivery of logistics supply, among other roles,” the President added.