The current insecurity in the country especially Boko Haram insurgency in parts of the North, caught government and security agencies unawares, President Goodluck Jonathan admitted on Friday.
President Jonathan also admitted that issues of ethnicity and religious intolerance pose one of the greatest threat to the continued corporate existence of the nation especially if allowed to fester.
The president, who spoke through Arc. Namadi Sambo, the vice president, at the graduation ceremony of the Senior Course 36 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna state, however, assured that government will continue to equip the armed forces to ensure that the activities of the insurgents are quelled once and for all.
President Jonathan said: “Nigeria is faced with contemporary security challenges that were not envisaged some decades ago, as exemplified by the various terrorists’ attacks currently being experienced in some parts of our country”.
He told the officers, who are of the rank of Major and its equivalent in the Airforce and the Navy, that as members of the armed forces, they have an important role to play in ensuring that the lives and property of Nigerians are protected from all forms of international and external threats.
According to him: “We must remember that, the greatest danger to our collective security as a people and a nation lies in the issue of ethnicity and religious intolerance.
“These twin evil, if not checked are capable of threatening our corporate existence as one sovereign and indivisible nation. You must therefore discourage such sentiments and encourage our men to view themselves as comrades in the pursuit of a common destiny.
“Furthermore, you must continue to anticipate and reflect on the noble idea of the membership of the armed forces; you would be judged by your roles and actions of your men. Therefore, the military must remain apolitical and neutral in performing her constitutional roles”.
In his remarks on the occasion, the Commandant, AFCSC, Air Vice Marshal John Chris Ifemeje, said the 147 graduating officers, which include 12 allied officers from 11 sister African countries, underwent 48 weeks of intensive training in the college.
He charged them to take along with them as they return to their various services, everything they have learnt from the college, which he said will go a long way to assist them in the assigned areas of operations.