General Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff, on Saturday tasked Nigerian Army to uphold the virtues of selfless service and professionalism to meet contemporary security challenges.
He gave the charge at the Passing Out Parade of 78th Regular Recruit Intake of the Depot Nigerian Army held at the institution in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Olonisakin spoke as the Reviewing Officer and Special Guest of Honour at the ceremony considered to be unique in the history of the Depot.
NAN reports that this is the first time the Chief of Defence Staff is attending the POP ceremony in person in recent years.
Olonisakin expressed satisfaction that the Depot N A had continued to evolve innovative ways of improving the standard in the training of personnel for the Nigerian Army.
He said: “This realistic and result-oriented training that is being imparted in young recruits here has been yielding positive results.
“This is evident by the robust fighting spirit displayed by our soldiers in various theatre of operations.
“The excellent display of drills and military skills exhibited on this parade ground today, portends that you have acquired the basic training that is required of you to be good soldiers.”
Olonisakin described the training and the POP exercise as very important event in view of the numerous security challenges bedeviling the country.
He said: “As you all know, Nigeria is currently facing numerous security challenges occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, armed bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements.
“I wish to state that these security challenges will soon come to an end as we will not rest on our oars until the country is safe for all of us.
“The introduction of Improvised Explosive Device awareness training and survival skills have enabled you with new capabilities that will enhance your operational efficiency.
“The Nigerian Army has given you much and the country is expecting much from you, I urge you to remain focused and dedicated to duty at all times.”
While reminding them of the oath of allegiance that was administered on them, Olonisakin observed that by that oath they acquired a special status where they were subjected to both civil and military laws.
He charged the recruits to avoid anything that would tarnish the image of the Nigerian military and by extension the nation in general.
He said: “I equally welcome you to the military where a lot would be required of you in terms of loyalty, selfless service, courage, discipline, integrity and respect for others which are the core values of the Nigerian Army.
“You are expected to always do your utmost best to sustain these values through high professional standards in order to enhance your individual ability and our collective cohesion.
“I therefore urge you to retain the mental, physical and moral training given to you at this institution and the ones you will be exposed to in your respective units, formations and corps.”
Olonisakin lauded the efforts of the Commandant, Depot Nigerian Army, Major General Sani Muhammad, and his team of instructors for toiling them day and night to ensure that they were properly groomed for the defence of Nigeria.
He said: “You were exposed to series of live firing training activities that culminated into battle inoculations during the final field training exercise code named Exercise KUN GAMA.
“Your final Field Training Exercise conducted jointly with students of Nigerian Army School of Infantry and Warrant Officers Academy is an added advantage which is aimed at sharpening your ability to operate as a unit.
“I, therefore, urge you not to relent but continue to strive hard and improve your competencies by attending other professional courses.”
NAN reports that the 78th RRI POP which produced a total of 4,832 soldiers was attended by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; representatives of Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff; Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume; and some Governors among others.