KADUNA – President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday directed the country’s military to institute a special programme to honour men and women of the armed forces who died in active service.
Jonathan gave the directive at the combined passing-out-parade and commissioning of the 61st regular course and short service course 42 (Army) cadets of the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna.
He said that on no account should the nation abandon its citizens who pay the supreme price while serving their fatherland, pointing out the need to keep alive their memories.
“Let me again extend my deepest gratitude and indeed the appreciation of all Nigerians to the men and officers of the Nigerian armed forces for their service to our nation.
“You are out there fighting so that the rest of the country can live in peace. Our nation will not abandon you.
“On this special occasion, I am directing the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs to institute a special programme to honour our men in uniform who lose their lives in active service.
“On no account must our country abandon those who serve her loyally and pay the supreme price.
“This honour is to ensure that their memory and service live with us and our nation forever.’’
Jonathan congratulated the graduating cadets for the successful completion of the five-year training and their commissioning as officers of the armed forces.
He, however, urged them to be absolutely loyal, disciplined and dedicated in their service to the nation.
He also urged them to prioritise the welfare and safety of men that would be placed under their command, adding that they should also enforce the policy zero tolerance to indiscipline and corruption.
“You are passing out at a critical moment for our country. Those of you who are fortunate enough to be deployed to areas of national challenge have a unique opportunity to distinguish yourselves in your chosen career.
“A career in our armed forces is not the place for the heartless. Our men and women in uniform are bold and brave.
“They are our pride and our nation will continue to honour and appreciate those who stand strong in defence of our country.
“This administration is committed to due process, equity, merit and the rule of law, because they are the cardinal pillars of a democratic society.
“As members of our Armed Forces, your constitutional responsibilities are very broad but clearly defined.
“I urge you, therefore, to engage only in noble and rewarding actions that will enhance your professionalism and career prospects, as well as maintain and deepen the confidence that the Nigerian people repose in you.’’
The president congratulated the commandant, staff and officers of the NDA for their service to the nation.
He noted that the aspiration of the people and government of Nigeria had remained to build a “well-trained, efficient and very effective armed forces’’ that met the national security objectives.
Jonathan noted that the products and achievements of the academy were in line with those goals.
He commended the authorities of the academy for embracing the Federal Government’s initiative aimed at deepening the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics towards fast-tracking national development.
He also commended the institution for establishing new centres of excellence, including the Centre for Leadership, Management and Command, and the Centre for the Study of Complex Operations and National Security Affairs. [eap_ad_1] He expressed the hope that the new centres would make valuable inputs to national development in terms of research, capacity building and proffering of solutions to complex challenges facing the country.
Jonathan urged the NDA authorities to make sure that all cadets undergoing training in the institution, with effect from next session, were bilingual especially in English and French.
This, according to him, is to enhance their participation in United Nations and African Union’s peaceful keeping operations.
The newly commissioned officers include 331 in the 61 Regular Course Cadets and 213 in the Short Service Corps 42 (Army) Cadets.
The ceremony, which coincided with the Golden Jubilee anniversary of the NDA, also featured trooping and presentation of the new national and academy regimental colours of the military.
Three of the graduating cadets who distinguished themselves in academics and rigorous military training received the academy’s Sword of Honour.