Sunday, June 15, 2008

Military, No Threat to Democracy, Says Army Chief

From Imam Imam in Gusau, 06.15.2008

The military institution in Nigeria is no longer a threat to the survival of the nation's democracy, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Luka Yusuf, said yesterday in Gusau, Zamfara State.
The Army chief, who gave the assurance while on a “thank you visit” to the government of Zamfara State for its decision to build a new ammunition depot in Gusau, said the military has now become the bastion of democratic governance in the country.
He warned against continued incidents of internal political wrangling witnessed in some parts of the country and said: “Army will not tolerate any form of political disturbance in any part of the country.”
Yusuf said unlike the previously held view that the army has been an impediment to the development of democracy in the country, everyone is today aware that "the Army is the pillar of Nigerian Democracy and we will always be there to safeguard the system. We will always be there to make sure that Nigerians understand and appreciate the country better," he added.
He said the Nigerian Army is currently undergoing transformation that would make its personnel to be more professional in the discharge of their duties.
"We are transforming the Nigerian Army so that Officers and Soldiers would understand their duties well and be more professional. We are training very hard so that we can address any form of internal security problems and as well we are training very hard on peace support operations for which we are the fourth most contributing country in the world,'' he said.
The Army boss disclosed that the service is earning some money for the country through the peace keeping operations contrary to the belief by Nigerians that the country is wasting its scarce resources on the operations.
He however failed to say how much the country is earning from the operations. He only said "the amount is substantial but I cannot give the specific amount because I am not an accountant."
While commending the Zamfara State Gover-nment for its decision to construct a new ammunition depot for the army to replace the existing one, Yusuf said the gesture will go a long way in cementing the already existing cordial relationship between the state and Nigerian Army.
In his response to the army chief’s remarks, Governor Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi extolled the role of the Nigerian Army in nurturing the country's democracy.
He identified poverty as the bane of security in the country and ephasised the need for all stakeholders in the country to work towards reducing poverty in the country.
Shinkafi, who said the Nigeria Army is among the highly skilled forces in the world, pledged that his administration would continue to support the service whenever the need arises.

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