Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai has told new graduands of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College Junior Course 84 that, “As the Federal Government continues to vigorously pursue the change agenda, you should take note that much more will be demanded of the military”.
Towards this end, he said, “Our actions, particularly during the on-going counter insurgency operations are crucial and must be guided by the Armed Forces Act, Standing Operating Procedures or Rules of Engagement as the case maybe.
“Our inactions on the other hand would really be dependent on our sense of judgment, appreciation and decision making skills”.
Speaking ceremony in Jaji at the weekend, the COAS said, “It is pertinent that you always conduct yourself in a manner befitting of an officer and a gentleman when discharging your duties in line with global best practices”.
“171 of you will be conferred with the appellation ‘Passed Junior Staff Course’. This appellation confers much responsibility on you. I say this because a lot will now be expected from you by your superiors as you return to your respective military units, organizations and countries.
“For the past 23 weeks, you have been thoroughly subjected to various demanding tasks that exposed you to several presentations, lectures, discussions, exercises and even tours outside the College.
“All these were carefully put together for you to imbibe what General Douglas MacArthur, a former Chief of Staff of the United States Army called ‘The Cardinal Virtues of a Soldier’.
“I am sure you have learnt Time Management, Punctuality, Team Spirit, Staff Skills, Esprit-de-Corps and Self Confidence. You must have also acquired the discipline that would enable you to endure the stress that is likely to confront you in your Service careers.
These qualities, I believe assisted you a great deal to survive the onslaught of the ‘Red Forces’ and the pressures associated with ‘Red Ink Correction’ exercises.
“You must have noticed that in contemporary times, conflicts all over the world are largely intra-state resulting in complex emergencies.
“In this regard, you are fortunate to benefit from such packages as the estimate process, the Manoeuverist approach to warfare, peace support operations, counter-terrorism and disaster management.
“For members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, your sense of judgment in applying these skills will even be more apparent now that we are confronting a lot of internal security challenges in the country, most especially the menace of Boko Haram and the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta.
“You must, therefore, brace up to likely challenges and measure up to them with courage, conviction and in the most professional manner.
“You must uphold the highest standards of conduct vis-à-vis character, integrity, excellence, service and teamwork as well as respecting the rule of law and human rights in your service to the nation.
“You will be held to these standards not just as ambassadors of the Armed Forces but also as products of this prestigious institution of professional military education.
“On the global scene, I need not remind you that the world has been miniaturized by technology. We have seen vast oceans that have been reduced to mere ponds, and the domino effect of citizen uprisings spreading rapidly from one country to the other.
“No nation, no matter how powerful, can claim to be an island unto itself. As nations are becoming increasingly interdependent, we cannot afford to remain aloof considering our size, population and contribution to the maintenance of global peace and security.
“Nigeria’s commitment to international peace will continue to require your services as military observers, staff officers or members of contingents in multinational operations.
“Having gone through the Peace Support Operations Package, I am very confident that you will do the nation proud whenever such opportunities arise.
“I am also sure that you are all prepared to serve gallantly in our own internal theatre of operations especially in the North East and the Niger Delta.
“To our colleagues from Benin Republic, Mali, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Zimbabwe, I say a big congratulation.
“May I also acknowledge our colleagues from Para-military agencies; the Nigeria Customs Service, Defence Intelligence Agency and Nigerian Defence Academy.”
“Let me at this juncture, extend my sincere appreciation to your spouses, who in your absence kept the home front running.
“To them, I say thank you for their understanding and endurance. To members of the Directing Staff, I commend your efforts in transforming these ladies and gentlemen from the raw materials they were some 23 weeks ago to the present refined products that we have before us today.
“With the massive renovations and improvement in infrastructure in the College, I have no doubt that the Commandant has provided a very conducive environment for your studies.
“Finally, I congratulate the Commandant and the entire staff of the College for successfully turning out yet another batch of graduates of this great institution.