Yenagoa — The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai, on monday explained why President Muhammadu Buhari directed the military to build more security infrastructure throughout the regions of the country.
The Army Chief who spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Nigerian Army Barracks, Camp Buratai at Elebele in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, noted that the rising sophistication of crimes in the country demanded that the armed forces should have a firm grip of all its areas of operation.
According to him, the 16th Brigade located in Yenagoa, the 6th Division and 6th Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, the 17th Brigade under the new 8th Division with headquarters in Operation Lafia Dole in Monguno and several others were to enable the military effectively surmount the security challenges in the country.
"The establishment of 6th Brigade in Port Harcourt, 6th Division in Port Harcourt and the 16th Brigade in Yenagoa forms an important part of the president's desire to have a balanced and widespread footprints of the Nigerian army to deal with the myriads of security challenges facing the country in conjunction with other security agencies.
"Our current national security realities have compelled the armed forces and other government security agencies to act together in operations in many parts of the country to stem the tides of criminalities and other untoward behaviour that hurts us as a country.
"To achieve this, we the leaders and instruments of fate must therefore, put in place necessary measures, to look after the wellbeing of officers of soldiers saddled with the responsibility of keeping Nigeria safe," Buratai said.
He added that the federal government under President Buhari placed premium on the welfare of soldiers fighting to keep the country safe.
"It is for this reason that the government will continue to provide decent living and working environment for troops, their families and dependents while they are away in far-flung and isolated locations at the mercies of adverse weather conditions and sometimes enemies of the state.
"Thus, this barracks that we are about to commence its construction underscores the importance the government under the leadership of President Buhari places on troops' welfare," he noted.
He said the ground-breaking was made possible following Governor Seriake Dickson's fulfilment of his promise to allocate and approve the parcel of land acquired by the army, noting that the Brigade will receive deserved attention immediately the 2018 budget is passed.
Earlier, Dickson had lauded the Army Chief for the establishment of 16th Brigade as well as the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Army Engineering Corps at the Agge Deep Sea port, which he noted, would enhance security and investments.
"I am pleased with what the Nigerian army is doing in terms of security in the state and its development efforts at the Agge Deep sea port, which we are building to enhance our economic and tourist potential.
"Going forward, we will like to work with the Nigerian army to undertake the building of low cost houses, bridges and other developmental projects," he said.
Dickson maintained that his government's heavy investments in education had helped to drastically reduce militancy and insecurity in Bayelsa State.
He said: "We fight insecurity in vain if we don't first educate our people, particularly our youths to be empowered enough to reason beyond their nose, to properly know and situate the evil of crime, criminality and insecurity in the society."
Brig. Gen. Kevin Aligbe, Commander of the new Brigade had also in his opening remarks, thanked the COAS for supporting the activities of the brigade, adding that the last one year of the brigade witnessed the beginning of the construction of Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Agge Deep Seaport site.
"More resources will be invested in future by the Federal Government to build this permanent site of the brigade and affiliated units across the state.
"We are determined to justify the huge investment in this fighting formation as a catalyst against criminality in Bayelsa state and criminality in the Niger Delta region," Aligbe said.