The Nigerian Army has graduated 1,151 special forces comprising of nine officers and 1,142 soldiers from its School of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna State to combat insurgency and banditry.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, presided over the graduation ceremony on Wednesday in Jaji, Kaduna.
Buratai said the training was borne out of the need to tackle insurgency and banditry activities in the North East and North West regions.
He said the graduation of the soldiers was a pointer to the fact that they had big task ahead of troops, noting that whatever they had encountered during the training, more should be expected at the frontlines.
Buratai urged the graduating special forces to put what they had learnt to practice in the battle fields to restore peace in the affected areas.
According to him, the training is not only in physical fitness but also mental alertness, endurance and intellectual capacity to enable them overcome physical and mental stress.
He said: “We expect nothing less than the best once you are deployed in operations.
“We still have challenges across the country and we expect you to play a very serious role in stabilising the situation, but I must be quick to say that what we are having is nothing compared to you in terms of training and equipment.
“We have very good welfare packages for all of you and all men of Nigerian Army and the government is doing whatever it can to improve your welfare both in the field and in the barracks.
“So you have no option than to put in your best, continue to serve your country with loyalty and diligence as well as all the commitment it deserves.
“We want you to be the force that would bring these adversaries and criminals across the country on their knees.
“Your skills would be an edge over the enemies.”
Buratai cautioned the troops against indiscipline and inordinate use of social media in their operations, reminding them of their allegiance to serve the country with their lives.
The COAS further announced special promotion to all the soldiers that participated in the training to the next rank.
Also speaking, the Commandant of NASI, Major General Kelvin Aligbe, said the graduation of the trainees was the climax of a 12-week of special forces training as part of interventions by COAS to end insecurity in the country.
Aligbe said the training, facilitated through a partnership with an international firm, covered aspects of close contact combats, camouflage, unexpected incident operations and extraction under fire.
The special forces were also exposed to first aid, intelligence and surveillance skills, amongst others.
Aligbe said the various levels so far attained from the training would be followed up by a consolidated training on selected aspects of counter-insurgency packages to be delivered by the cyber warfare wing of NASI.
According to him, in all aspects of the training, the graduating special forces acquainted themselves as worthy mission capable teams.
The commandant lauded Buratai for his commitment to manpower development of the Nigerian Army personnel towards optimal performance.