Against the backdrop of questions being asked as to the propriety of the Nigerian Army’s involvement in the shooting of Lekki EndSARS protesters and a recent report by CNN saying that live bullets were used, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai has said the Nigerian Army is a professional Army who will never operate outside the rules of engagement.
Speaking on the EndSARS issue when he received members of the House of Representatives committee on Army at Army headquarters on Wednesday, Buratai said, “let me assure you and all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is a professional Army. We follow our rules of engagement. Nigerians should feel safe.
We abide by rules of engagement and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
On the issue of kidnapping and banditry causing untold hardship on citizens along the Abuja – Kaduna road, the COAS said, “the issues of kidnapping and bandits attacks are being taken care of” noting that the Nigerian Air Force and the Army are doing a lot in this regard.
Towards boosting the capability of the Army to subsequently rise up to the challenges of insecurity in the country, Buratai disclosed that the Nigerian Army Aviation is being reactivated pointing out that the Helicopter project is at the ‘heart of our plans’.
“In this regard, we have acquired two helicopters from the Transmission Company of Nigeria. We have added them to our platform and they will be rehabilitated and used for research”.
The Army Chief told the committee members that owing to the myriad of security challenges confronting the country, there is need for a Special Intervention Fund from the government for procurement of more equipment, training and provision of accommodation and other infrastructure in military barracks.
“Even though the budget has been made, there may be requirement for virement of funds because of shortage of funds needed for procurement of hardware equipment especially to tackle the challenges in the North East and North West.
“Procurement of platforms for the Armoured Corp also requires special intervention because with 100 per cent equipment capability, tackling insecurity will be enhanced and criminal elements wiped out.
Disclosing that more appropriation of funding was required to enable the construction and completion of accommodation for officers and soldiers as well as infrastructure, Buratai said, “We have so much dilapidation across Nigerian Army units and formations but were are taking them gradually.
Earlier, Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Army, Hon Abdulrasaq Namdas disclosed that they were at the Army headquarters to brief the COAS about their observations during their oversight visit to military formations across the country.
He disclosed that during the visit, the committee witnessed tremendous improvements in terms of infrastructure, repair of accommodation, provision of water and roads in many army units and formations adding that they were allowed unfettered access to units as ordered by Lt. Gen. Buratai.