Peace is a fundamental icon pursued by any leader despite the unruly behaviour amongst some segments of nationals in any country. In the 21st century, there is hardly any country in the world isolated from the illicit bargains of terrorism in its diverging form. Even though the basic duties of the military across the globe is to protect the territorial integrity of their respective nations; against external aggression, they are also tasked especially in developing countries in some greater extent to forestall the break down of law and order. Hence, any act of criminality, insurgency and banditry can be repelled by the military.
In Nigeria, from 2009 when the inimical strive of the Boko Haram elements escalated, the Nigerian Armed Forces through the unrelenting and dogged struggle were repelled by troops of the Nigerian Army alongside other sister services. With the appointment of Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai in July 2015, the issue of troops welfare was accorded basic attention and this boosted the morale of personnel especially in reference to counterterrorism operations.
One of the achievements of Gen Buratai in a bid to better the welfare of his soldiers and troops was the building, renovation and expansion of the various military barracks across the country. In pursuit of this, he received commendations for ameliorating the plights of soldiers and troops under his watch.
Tuesday 7th May 2019 was a remarkable day in the history of the Nigerian Armed Forces as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai unveiled the new Muhammadu Buhari Cantonment located at Giri Junction, Abuja.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai performed the groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony. Speaking at the event, Gen Buratai reiterated his resolve to improve the welfare of Nigerian Army personnel by building offices and residential accommodation for officers and men of the service aimed at upgrading operational efficiency.
He noted that all documents concerning the allocation of the site including the Certificate of Occupancy has been duly processed and legally obtained. The Army Chief advised anyone or group of persons laying claims to the land to imbibe due process by contacting relevant authorities. He equally enjoined aggrieved parties not to take laws into their hands as an act of unlawful incursion will not be tolerated.
Gen Buratai disclosed that the Estate was named Muhammad Buhari Cantonment in 2017. Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief of Logistic (Army), Maj. Gen. Enobong Udoh noted the developmental strides of the COAS since his appointment in 2015.
Enobong saluted the COAS for “doggedly implementing good policies and initiative”. He hailed Gen Buratai’s tenure as “the rebirth of a new and proud Nigerian Army.
“Before the appointment of Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai in 2015, the issue of poor housing scheme posed as a big threat to personnel of the Nigerian Army.
“In line with his vision, which is to provide a highly responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles the issue of the poor housing scheme which affected the morale of troops is now a thing of the past”.
Enobong noted that enhancing accommodation and offices for personnel will further boost their morale and operational efficiency.
The new Cantonment upon completion will provide accommodation for officers and soldiers. It will also accommodate the headquarters of Nigerian Army Aviation Corps, Headquarters Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army Women Corps, Nigerian Army Space Command, Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches Limited which is a pioneer model farm. The COAS alongside Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters inspected ongoing work at the site.
Recall that a section of the indigenous people of Nigeria’s Capital City, Abuja barricaded the road protesting the incursion of the Nigerian Army on the site earmarked for the construction and development of the Muhammadu Buhari Cantonment. Perhaps as a calculated attempt by these protesters, the protest held the same time with the groundbreaking ceremony. Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo who was on his way to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport had to alight from his car to address and calm the aggrieved persons. However, Gen Buratai disclosed during the unveiling ceremony that the land was allocated to the Nigerian Army since 1979 with all documents fully processed and in custody.
The newly established Cantonment is an armistice projected at ending the lingering tussle of ownership between the indigenous people of Abuja and the Nigerian Army even though their ancestors who perfected the transaction are no longer alive to testify, attest or give account.