Olayemi Esan, Abuja
The former Chief of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has described his 40 years of service as “historic”.
Buratai, who said this during his official handover to Major General Ibrahim Attahiru at the Army Headquarters on Thursday, noted that Army Officers became professionally-responsive, committed and dedicated to their statutory responsibility of safeguarding the territorial integrity of the nation, against any internal and foreign harassments.
He thanked the troops especially the Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East for their sacrifice, saying the Nigerian army has been “better positioned with intelligence gathering techniques and equipment”.
In addition, he express his happiness in encouraging production of locally-made weapons and equipment which includes an Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV), a Combat Fighting Motorcycle (CFM), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), an Automated Sniper Rifle (ASR) and firing pins for the Soviet-made D30 howitzer.
He stressed that his latest legacy is the 28 Ezugwu armoured personnel carriers for counter-terrorism/insurgency missions by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
He also said that infrastructural development, especially with regards to the rehabilitation and construction of some army barracks, schools, and hospitals, among other projects, was one of the legacy his leadership bequeathed.
In terms of improving security, the immediate-past COAS, said aside degrading the Boko Haram terrorists and army troops reclaiming some towns hitherto under the control of the insurgents in the North East, the problem of insecurity was somewhat tackled during his tenure in office.
“The security situation across the country is largely stabilised under my watch, and my administration will be remembered for improved
professionalism, improved responsiveness to personnel welfare, and responsiveness to Nigeria’s democratic system.
“I am proud to say that the Nigerian army has transformed to become professionally responsive in the defence of democracy with utmost loyalty.
“Today, we have a professional response army and we have achieved a lot in many areas over the years as well as interagency cooperation.”
He appealed to media to put National Interest and security first before publishing any news, saying "Pen is faster than gun"
Buratai, therefore called on newly appointed COAS Maj. Gen. Attahiru to consolidate on the successes he would meet on ground.
The former COAS stressed three key issues to remember him for. "Improve Professionalism in military, improve responsiveness in terms of training operations and logistics plans and finally, responsiveness to Nigeria democratic practices.
He also thanked his course mate, 29 Regular Course for their undiluted support throughout his stay in military.
Sharing his military experience, Buratai revealed that Former President Olusegun Obasanjo almost retired him 21 years ago when he was a major.
On his part, the new COAS,Maj. Gen Attahiru promised to hit the ground running in order to address lingering security challenges facing the country, at large.
Attahiru promised to sustain the giant strides of his predecessor, adding that he considers himself lucky to have been given the opportunity to succeed him.