By Seyi Babalola
President Bola Tinubu has charged the armed forces to continue to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity against all threats, commending them for their dedication to duty and sacrifices for the nation.
Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Chief Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.
Speaking at an event marking the Diamond Jubilee of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, on Saturday, the President assured the military of his administration’s commitment to its welfare, as well as unflagging support in the discharge of its duties.
The NDA was established about six decades ago, on February 5, 1964. The institution has undergone various stages of transformation in its quest to fulfill its mandate of training officers for the Nigerian Armed Forces. Before obtaining independence from Britain, Nigeria’s first set of officers were trained in Ghana and subsequently at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England. But by January 1964, four years after independence, the first batch of 64 army and navy cadets commenced training at the NDA.
President Tinubu highlighted some of the milestones recorded during the transformation of the NDA to include the subsequent addition and training of Air Force cadets, the successful reunification of the country after the Civil War in 1967 as well as the various short-service military training programmes instituted to fill the manpower needs caused by the Civil War.
Other noteworthy achievements he accented include the upgrade of the NDA from a non-degree awarding institution to a full-fledged degree-awarding university in 1985, thereby phasing out the Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education hitherto awarded to cadets.
“The government is also pleased to note that the curriculum approved by the National Universities Commission, the regulatory body is sufficiently robust and broad-based to enable the cadets to acquire the knowledge, skills, values, character, and discipline required for effective and efficient service in the Nigerian Armed forces in peace times and in times of crises.
“I understand that other giants’ strides recorded in the NDA include the establishment of post-graduate programs, the creation of research centres and centres of excellence to facilitate research, and enable cross fertilization of ideas.
“The consistent academic calendar devoid of industrial disputes and strikes should make the NDA postgraduate school an institution of first choice not only for Nigerian students but also for students across the globe. I therefore charge the academic staff both military and nonmilitary to transform the NDA into ‘Nigeria’s Silicon Valley,’ a hub for startups where ideas are not only incubated but also actualized,” the President said.
President Tinubu commended the past and present leadership of the NDA for the quality of military and academic training, which has continued to attract clientele from other African nations.
He said with the quality of training at the Academy, the military is capable of bringing to an end all acts of banditry, insurgency, and criminality that have ravaged the country.
“Let me also add that although the war against the enemies of Nigeria is not over, it is fair to state that relative peace has been recorded across the major flash points. These successes have come at a price for the government and the populace. We remember our fallen heroes and those out in the trenches for the sake of our fatherland. Let us also celebrate their resilience and sacrifice at this diamond jubilee.
“I urge you to continue to play your constitutional role of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria, our fatherland. You must shun any acts that are inimical to the well-being of our nation and acts which can destroy the gains of democracy which we have enjoyed in the last 20 years.
“The government is fully aware of the service and sacrifices that members of the Nigerian Armed Forces have continued to render across the length and breadth of this country, especially in the face of daunting challenges We, as a government, will continue to accord priority to the needs of the armed forces to enable the military to play its constitutional role without let or hindrance.
“Let me reiterate the urgency to upscale the fight against insecurity, which has robbed us of peace and progress. While the relative peace you have been able to secure is worth celebrating, you must remember that the war is not yet over until every parcel of land held by the enemy is flying the flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the President said.