About 10 days after scores of Nigerian soldiers were massacred by insurgents, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to improving the welfare of the Nigerian Army.
Mr Buhari gave the assurance while addressing troops at Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.
He said the troops were always on his mind, adding that ”he had always woken up thinking about them and the conditions they operated”.
“I will support you to play your constitutional role of defending the integrity of the country from both internal and external forces. “This is the oath you have taken just as I took an oath as the President and Commander-In-Chief.
“I assure you that I go to bed and always wake up thinking about you and the conditions under which you operate.”
No fewer than 118 Nigerian soldiers of the 157 Battalion were massacred by Boko Haram insurgents who now call themselves Islamic State West Africa on November 18 at the village of Metele, Borno State.
The initial figures of casualty were put at 44 but as more details emerged, it was confirmed at least 118 soldiers and officers were killed with their commanding officer, Ibrahim Sakaba, while about 150 more soldiers and officers are still missing.
However, Mr Buhari who has been flayed by critics over the carnage asked the troops to maintain their loyalty and defend the country. ”Whatever happens, a military no matter how equipped or how well led, without discipline is no use to the country,’’ he said.
While commending the troops over their gallantry and sacrifices, Mr Buhari urged them to increase their commitment in engaging Boko Haram insurgents.
He said plans were on to adopt a new enhanced salary structure for the military in recognition of their contributions to security, social and economic development of the country.
The president also visited injured troops on admission at the Military Medical Centre. Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri.
Mr Buhari had earlier inaugurated the 2018 Chief of Army Staff (COAS) conference and then paid a courtesy visit on the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Garbai Elkanemi.