Nigeria: Buhari marks independence anniversary with troops in Boko Haram enclave

Maiduguri, Nigeria (PANA) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday marked the military ceremonies of the National Independence Day in Maiduguri, Borno State, the epicentre of the Book Haram terrorism and insurgency.

Billed to be a way to honour the courage and sacrifices of the Armed Forces, the ceremony was marked with a display of military hardware and a show of air power by the Nigerian Air Force.

It took place in the Maimalari Military Cantonment, which houses the headquarters of the Theatre Command - Operation Lafiya Dole.

This was the first time such ceremonies had taken place outside the nation's capital since it was moved from Lagos to Abuja on 12 December 1991.

In an impromptu speech after inspecting the military guard of honour, President Buhari praised the gallantry of the Armed Forces for the successes recorded in defeating terrorism in the north-east and lawlessness in the Niger Delta and gave assurances that the country's Armed Forces would be equipped with the best the country could afford.

He said: "Under this leadership, there will be resources as much as the country can afford to support your operations. As long as you live and are in service, your rights will be guarded jealousy.

"You must stand firm for your country. The centre is determined to hold. You must be loyal to the centre. If Nigeria breaks, you are the first line of losers so you must stand firm for yourselves and for the country. The security of the country is in your hands and in the hands of God."

The President reiterated an earlier warning in his National Day Broadcast that the country would not break up under his watch and dismissed those agitating for its division as dreamers who were not born when the country went through a debilitating civil war in which two million lives were lost.

"Those who are making noises were not born. So, they don't know what we went through. They don't know. I like to remind you that whatever happens, you are at the front lines of the defence of the citizens wherever they live. This administration is prepared to protect all citizens residing in all parts of the country."

A separatist movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra, has been agitating for the creation of a state for the Igbo people in eastern Nigeria.

President Buhari also inspected several military equipment, newly-acquired and those refurbished put on display as well as some of the new acquisitions of the Air Force that included night-vision Mi 35 attack helicopters.

In his welcoming speech, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, commended the President for showing a lot of care for the Armed Forces.

He assured the President that the country's military would continue to be loyal to the administration and expressed their readiness to guarantee the sovereignty of the nation and the security of its people.
-0- PANA MON/MA 1Oct2017

01 october 2017 16:44:34

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