President Bola Ahmed Tinubu today restated his administration’s commitment to eliminating poverty, terrorism and all forms of criminality in Nigeria.

Already, the Nigerian leader who is also Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the administration is currently implementing programmes and policies that would empower Nigerians to combat the challenges of poverty, criminality and terrorism.

President Tinubu, who was represented by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, gave the hint on today during the passing-out parade of Cadets of the 70 Regular Course, Direct Short Service Course 27 (Army) and Direct Short Service Course 31 (Air Force) of the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna.

Reading the President’s address titled, “The Heroes of Nigeria’s Path to Prosperity and Security,” at the passing-out parade, VP Shettima said, “Every day, every minute, we are reminded of the consequences of economic and social disintegration around us. This is why we favour cooperation and the formation of bilateral and multilateral alliances to create opportunities for our people.

“We are implementing programmes and policies to empower our citizens to combat the challenges of poverty, criminality, and terrorism. From preparing for the food security crisis triggered by the Russian-Ukrainian war, to responding to banditry attacks on farmers, natural flood disasters, and the repercussions of military coups, this administration has remained vigilant in devising solutions to mitigate their impact and enhance national security”.

As part of moves to deal decisively with the criminal elements, President Tinubu noted that his government has embarked on a new era in the country’s national defence and security strategy.

This, he said, would be driven by a resolute commitment to confront the substantial threats and challenges that confront us within the West African sub-region.

“I have directed all heads of defence and security institutions to unite in their efforts to protect our nation’s integrity and well-being, and as Chairman of the ECOWAS, we are diligently working to enhance our regional conflict management and development mechanisms. To forge a path towards greater peace, stability, and progress across West Africa and beyond is not negotiable,” he added.

The President noted, however, that in tackling poverty inflicted on Nigerians by activities of the terror groups, he would treat every region equally and give them a sense of belonging in his government.

He stated: “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, justice is the mainstay of prosperity, and so we are going to be fair to each region. Whether in tackling the secessionist elements disrupting the peace and economic activities of the good people of the South-East or doubling up our efforts in winning the counter-insurgency in the North East, and whether in pursuing normalcy in the North-West or in making the farmer-herder crises a thing of the past in the North-Central, every group will be treated as equal and given a sense of belonging in our government.

“While I acknowledge that we have made bold decisions to bolster our economy, even as some developed economies face the threat of recession, our commitment remains resolute. We are intensifying our efforts to implement tangible measures that will alleviate the hardships caused by the removal of fuel subsidies and the unification of exchange rates.

“Our immediate actions, such as reducing taxes on strategic manufacturing industries, distributing grains from the national reserve to vulnerable demographics, providing fertilizer and farm inputs, and extending soft loans to small and medium-scale industries, all serve as a clear message to our nation.

“We stand firmly with our citizens, determined to guide our country towards a path of accelerated economic growth and opportunities, where no one lives on handouts.”

The president further said he was proud of the devotion and dignity with which the NDA and its alumni have safeguarded Nigeria, noting that the passing-out parade was not just a ceremony to honour the transition of the graduants to a more active phase of duty to their fatherland.

According to him, the ceremony “stands as a symbol of our enduring commitment to the ideals of patriotism and investment in our human capital.

“I am, therefore, delighted to witness the passing-out parade of the Cadets of the 70 Regular Course, Direct Short Service Course 27 (Army), and Direct Short Service Course 31 (Air Force),” he added.

President Tinubu continued: “Our solemn commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s security hinges upon a crucial realisation: without vigilant attention to the very foundations and individuals who fortify order and stability, this promise remains unattainable. It is here, at the Nigerian Defence Academy, that this promise crystallises into action.

“In a world characterised by swift advancements and transformative technologies, our mission is clear: we strive to nurture not just ordinary defenders but paragons of excellence, both among men and women, who serve as vigilant protectors of our cherished nation.

“Since 1964, this institution has moulded the character, physique, and intellect of valiant officers and academic specialists beyond the shores of this country. Year after year, this Academy attracts the most ambitious among us to train them and reintegrates them into society.

“Year after year, we reaffirm that sound education is the ultimate security strategy, and our resilient Armed Forces are proof of this. This prized legacy, thankfully, is one to which we are not the only testifiers. There’s an international consensus on the quality of this Academy, an institution that has given a sense of purpose to alumni from as far as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Togo, Sierra Leone, Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, and Burkina Faso”.

Addressing the graduating Cadets, President Tinubu pointed out that like those before them, they were “stepping into a world fraught with threats, a world that demands unique skill-sets to conquer the adversaries of the state.

“They are going to find themselves in a dynamic landscape, one marked by combat and regimental realities vastly different from those encountered by their predecessors”.

The President further asked the authorities of the NDA to access the support it requires to invest in scientific research and technological innovations, as well as develop prototypes and concepts that align with local content policies of the Federal Government.

He noted: “The future of our great country doesn’t only rest upon the valour of these young patriots but also the curricula with which our warriors and scholars are formed.

“If we must take the centre stage in protecting our people, this Academy must access the support it requires to invest in scientific research and technological innovations and develop prototypes and concepts that align with the Federal Government’s local content policies.

“This esteemed institution was founded to lead the way and boasts research centers dedicated to exploring scientific inquiries and translating the our grandest ideas and theories into reality. Now is the time for us to be the model for the continent.”

Welcoming the young cadets as they join the ranks of the nation’s patriotic heroes, President Tinubu congratulated the Commandant and the entire NDA community for upholding their noble tradition.

Earlier, the Commandant, Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Maj.-Gen. John O. Ochai, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for his unwavering commitment and support to the academy towards the realisation of the noble dreams of its founding fathers.

He applauded the personnel and staff of the academy for their unwavering efforts in discharging their duties, as well as the graduating cadets for their tireless efforts throughout their training.

The commandant reminded the graduating cadets that the training they have undergone in the academy would enable them to take leadership responsibilities and positions as military officers of Nigeria.

The event witnessed parades, march past, presentation of prizes to best graduating Cadets, conferment of commission, presentation of parchment of commission as well as administering of the oath of allegiance.

The passing-out parade was well attended by eminent dignitaries, including Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio; Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Ali Ndume; Governors Uba Sani of Kaduna State and Kefas Agbu of Taraba State; Deputy Governor of Borno State, Umar Kadafur; Minister of Defence, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru, and Minister of State for Defence, Alhaji Bello Matawalle.

Others are Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, and Commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Maj.-Gen. John Ochai, among others.


*Stanley Nkwocha*
*Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Communications*
*(Office of the Vice President)*
*30th September, 2023*