The military got fresh marching orders yesterday from President Muhammadu Buhari: wipe out terrorists.
He said the last 12 years have been the most challenging due to insecurity.
The North has been reeling under serious terrorism and bandit attacks which have taken a turn for the worse.
There have been attacks on communities, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency and incessant farmer-herder clashes, among others.
In a renewed wave of terror, terrorists in March blew up rail tracks on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
Eight passengers were killed on the Kaduna-bound train; 41 people were injured, while many were abducted.
On July 5, terrorists attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja, freeing all 64 Boko Haram commanders and men, as well over 400 inmates.
Four inmates and an operative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were killed during the attack for which the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility.
In the Southeast, killings and arson have become almost a daily occurrence across the five states.
But the President said his administration and neighbouring countries will not relent in the war against terror.
He spoke at the graduation of 247 students of the Senior Course 44 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State.
The Monday’s sit-at-home declared by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) is taking a toll on the region’s economy.
The President said: “Most of the security challenges facing the world today are both asymmetric and trans-border in nature, involving mainly non-state actors in different regions and sub-regions of the world.
“The West African sub-region and indeed our beloved continent of Africa are not immune to these threats.
“We have witnessed recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria, bearing the hallmark of national and trans-border insurgents trying to cause havoc in Nigeria as well as in neighbouring countries.
“It will be part of your duty to confront these terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth and bring peace to our countries.”
He urged the graduates to apply their skills to the anti-terror war.
The President, who noted the sacrifices and successes of the Nigerian military in defending the country, said his government would continue to provide the needed support.
He described an aspect of their training, which focused on countering security threats, as very important.
“Combating these prevalent security threats effectively demands that African countries continue to work together at all levels; be it tactical, operational and strategic,” he added.
Appraising the collaboration of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger Republic, Benin Republic and Chad in a multinational operation to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region, the President said it has been productive, commendable and successful.
“The last 12 years have been very challenging for our nation, considering the different security threats that have besieged the country.
“Our government is poised to promote national security and development, as well as to remain committed to promoting a vision of a secure, safe, just, peaceful, prosperous and strong Nigeria.
“We shall be employing all elements of our national power in ensuring security, a just society, peaceful coexistence, national unity and sustainable development while promoting our good standing internationally,” he said.
Lauding the Armed Forces for their sacrifices, the President said they had been working tirelessly to enhance their combat effectiveness, operational capability and training necessary to eliminate the threats, in synergy with other institutions and nations.
“The response of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, militancy, kidnapping as well as the activities of separatists and armed militias, amongst others, have been commendable.
“This government will continue to provide the required guidance and support to ensure that the desired results are achieved,” he stressed.
President Buhari felicitated the graduates and their families.
“To the graduating students from Nigeria’s ministries, departments and agencies, you have indeed justified the confidence reposed in you by your respective organisations. Congratulations!
“We must specially commend the spouses of the graduands here for keeping the home front and without whose sacrifices there would have been no celebrations for many here today,” he said.
President Buhari also commended the Commandant, Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Olurotimi Tuwase and his management team.
”Your efforts are maintaining the status of the College as a mid-level military training institution of repute.
“I, therefore, commend the College Board as well as the Commandant and staff for these remarkable achievements.
“This government will continue to support the College in its developmental strides.
“My administration will also continue to give priority to the training and welfare of officers and men of our Armed Forces.
“You, the graduating students, should realise that the nation has made a lot of investment in your training up to this stage of your respective careers.
“I am confident that you have been sufficiently groomed in character and learning to take up the challenges you will be confronted with hereafter,” he said.
Tuwase said 111 army officers, 69 naval officers, 42 air force officers, 10 students from paramilitary organisations and ministries, departments and agencies, as well as 15 international students, completed the 48 weeks of intensive training, leading to the award of Pass Staff Course (PSC).
International students on the Senior Course 44 were from Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
President Buhari presented PSC certificates and awards to select graduands as well as the best graduating students.
Major Sunday Olayinka Atomode bagged three awards: Minister of Defence Award for highest overall score, Chief of Defence Staff Award for Department of Joint Studies and Chief of Army Staff Award for Department of Land Warfare.
Lt.-Cdr. Godwin Emeka Okutue won the Chief of Naval Staff Award for the Department of Marine Warfare; Squadron Leader Peter Chika Echeazu bagged the Chief of Air Staff Award for the Department of Air Warfare.
The Commandant’s Award for the Best Non-Military Student was awarded to A.M. Ajiamah, while Major Errol Donkoh from Ghana was named Best International Student.