Maiduguri — President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Nigerian military and other security forces not to falter in their loyalty and commitment to fighting for the continued existence of the country.
Addressing troops at the frontline of the war against Boko Haram insurgency at the 212 Parade Ground of Operation Mafia Dole Theatre Command, Maiduguri yesterday, the president stressed, apparently to the entire polity, "the centre will hold."
He told the troops, "You are doing one of the best services in this country; you have to stand firm and serve your country; the security of this country is in the hands of God and in the hands of its security. If you don't stand firm, you will be the biggest casualties; I assure you that if Nigeria doesn't exist, the first to be insecure are the law enforcement agencies, because no matter how many parts Nigeria will be divided into, nobody will take an old colonel or general to preside over his locality, not to talk of him getting pension or gratuity.
"I expect in return from you loyalty, and loyalty is from bottom upwards; from the private to the corporal to the sergeant and so on up to the generals commanding formations and to service chiefs, otherwise the centre will not hold, and this centre is determined to hold. I assure you that in spite of my health failures in the last six months, I have never forgotten how much you mean to this country; I assure you that under this leadership, there will resources available as much as the country can afford it, to support your operations. I will like to remind you that no matter what happened, the military will remain in the frontline until we make sure that people are free wherever they live in this country."
He told the Operation Lafia Dole troops that he was in Maiduguri to address and commemorate the independence anniversary with them because "I thought the honour I can present to the security and law enforcement agencies and stakeholders for this great day is to come and address you who are in the frontline."
President Buhari was accompanied to the occasion by Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State. They were received by the service chiefs led by the CDS, as well as the state Commissioner of Police and heads of paramilitary agencies in the state.
The president, aided by topmost dignitaries, and the Shehu of Borno, cut the 57th anniversary cake.