President Muhammadu Buhari has said the fighting power of the Nigerian Army increased significantly under his administration.
Buhari said under him, the Armed Forces of Nigeria rose to fourth position among African military as against the seventh it was in 2015.
He stated this in Abuja shortly after he reviewed the parade of over 1,000 officers of the Nigerian Army at the 2023 Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade.
According to him, the fighting power of the nation’s army was at low ebb as of May 2015, but his administration has achieved remarkable transformation of the military in the areas of fighting power, training, operations, manpower, remuneration and medical services.
He added that the situation had tremendously improved with remarkable progress in the fight against insurgents, militants, oil bunkers, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the country.
“These are in addition to maintenance, efficiency, accommodation and expansion of forces. The improvements in these areas have collectively enhanced the army’s capacity to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate.”
“The fighting power of our army was at low ebb as at May 2015. Our interventions and budgetary allocation to the army between 2020 and 2022 alone has been able to procure hundreds of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, troops carrying vehicles, utility vehicles, tanks and armored personnel carriers to augment those earlier procured from 2017 to 2022.
“Significant numbers of new fighting and the utility vehicles, along with artillery guns, machine guns, rifles and correspondent ammunition were acquired and inducted into various theaters of operations.
“This will lead to significant increment in the animal equipment holding since 2015 with a significant improvement in the fighting power as a result of the procurement of equipment and mission specific training,” he said.
The president noted that the Nigerian Army had restructured the conduct of its operations to meet current realities, saying the quantum of platforms induced into the army since 2015 had enabled troops to take the battle to the terrorists and criminals, particularly in the North East.
He said this had resulted in the recapture of territories hitherto held by the insurgents.
He said the creation of army aviation was one of the aspects of the ongoing expansion process in the Nigerian army, saying the renewed vigor for authorisation of the aviation unit emanated from a strong desire to effectively tackle contemporary security challenges across the country.
“As an administration, we have demonstrated commitment to increase the strength of the armed forces in my resolve to secure the country against all challenges.
“It is instructive to state that from 2015, when I was sworn in as the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, I facilitated the recruitment of over 60,000 soldiers for the Nigerian army aside thousands of commissioned officers from the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna.
“In the area of troops welfare, this administration has facilitated the approval of Manual for Financial Administration which has greatly enhanced the pay and allowances of troops.
“This has no doubt boost the troops morale and enhanced the deal. To discharge their constitutional mandate.
“Furthermore, in my resolve to cater for the families of disease personnel, over 50,000 children and wards of personnel who died in active service on the Nigerian Army Scholarship from 2015 to date.
“In terms of infrastructural development, this administration has made determined efforts to surmount the deficit in accommodation and other amenities,” he added.
Earlier, the Nigerian Army conducted a historic trooping and presentation of colours parade, retiring and replacing 53 units’ regimental colours and issued 28 new ones for newly established units.
Dressed in military uniform, the ceremony was conducted by the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in line with military tradition across the globe.
Daily Trust reports that trooping and presentation of colours parade is conducted when retiring the old colours of a regiment/unit and presenting the regiment/unit with a new one.
It entails marching/trooping the old colours past the formed up soldiers of the regiment/unit, retiring the colours, presenting the new colours to the regiment/unit and then consecrating the new colours.
It is usually conducted once in 15 to 20 years as desired by country’s armed forces but the last time such a parade was conducted in Nigeria was in 2007 when 32 units/regiments were issued with new colours.