President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday decorated the new Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim; the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, with a marching order to deal decisively with terrorism and oil theft.
President Jonathan, who decorated the new military chiefs with the assistance of Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Council Chambers of State House, Abuja, said they must put an end to both vices.
“I will like to use this forum to specially charge you to raise the many security challenges confronting our nation today, the president said.
“More specifically the Chief of Naval Staff along with his officers and men have the honourable responsibility of up scaling security in our territorial waters. The unacceptable rising incidences of crude theft must be tackled frontally. Even the direct adverse implication of the activities of crude oil theft on our national economy, I expect the Chief of Naval Staff and other serving Chiefs to immediately go to work to urgently bring the issue of crude oil theft to an end.
“May I further reiterate that the security of life and properties in all parts of this country is a sacred obligation which our administration will do everything in its power to live up to. We can’t allow threat to National Security to compromise our National transformation effort.
“While we remain repositioning Nigeria for sustained growth and development, we shall pro-actively prosecute the fight against terrorism with total commitment and effectively check the activities of all criminal elements in our dear land. In this regard, we will step initiatives aimed at strengthening and repositioning our security agencies for greater efficiency to discharge their constitutional responsibilities.
“In my capacity as your Commander in Chief, I assure you that you have held your appointment on the basis of your commitment to professional excellence, diligence and faith in a strong, stable and prosperous Nigeria. As you bring these worthy attributes to bear in charge of your onerous duties, you can assured of my full support at all times.”
President Jonathan also paid tribute to members of the country’s armed forces and security services who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.
He said, “I must place on record our gratitude to the gallant men and women of our armed services for their total commitment in defence of our unity, the preservation of our territorial integrity and the entrenchment of stability and security in our nation.
“I will like to pause and pay special attribute to members of our armed forces and security services who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our nation.
“While praying for the repose of our fallen heroes, we assure those they left behind that we shall do everything necessary to mitigate the pain of their losses.”
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, was not decorated as he retained his position as the Chief of Army Staff.
In his response the Chief of Defence Staff said it was a rare privilege to be asked to serve at this moment of the history of the country and assured the president that they are mindful of the security challenges facing the country and assured of the determination to deal decisively with the security challenges.