The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, has celebrated Christmas with the frontline troops of Joint Task Force (JTF) North East (NE) Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK) on 25 December 2023, at Headquarters 27 Task Force Brigade Buni-Gari Yobe State.

The Christmas luncheon was organized to share a moment of joy with the frontline trooops, in order to boost their morale and equally interact freely with them in the theatre of operations. The event was equally conceived to create an atmosphere where Officers and Soldiers would meet together outside the trenches due to the current operations to wine, dine and not to relent, but continuously build on the successes recorded so far.

While reading out his Christmas message to the troops, the COAS stated that *”Over fifty thousand of our colleagues will miss wishing their families and loved ones Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in person this season, not because they do not want to, but because they will be on duty across difficult-to-access towns, villages and harmlets across the country and beyond.”*

General Lagbaja who was represented by the Commander Armoured Corps, Major General MS Ahmed, appreciated the sacrifices, efforts and commitment of troops in the fight against insurgency, adding that Army Headquarters has initiated several welfare projects that will directly impact the lives of soldiers and their families. He wished troops and their families Merry Christmas and Happy New.

In his speech also, the representative of Yobe State Governor, Brigadier General D Abdulsalam (Rtd) who is also the Special Adviser on Security to the Governor, thanked and congratulated all troops, who made it to the end of year 2023. General Abdulsalam (Rtd) also used the medium to commend the sacrifices and efforts of troops in ensuring sanity and stability in the NE.

Earlier, the Theatre Commander JTF NE OPHK Major General GU Chibuisi said, the choice of Buni Gari for this year’s celebration was borne from the desire to ensure that troops outside the Theatre Headquarters also had a feel of the COAS care during the festive season. He used the medium to recognize and appreciate troops who sustained injuries in the course of the operations and prayed for the repose of the souls of the fallen heroes.

Similarly, the Commander Sector 2 OPHK Major General MLD Saraso in his welcome remarks, thanked the COAS for his distinguished leadership and appreciated the Theatre Commander for bringing the celebration to Sector 2 Area of Responsibility.

The Occasion was graced by the Theatre Commander Operation HADIN Kai, Representative of Yobe State Governor, General Officer Commanding 7 Division Nigerian Army, Commander Sector 2 Operation HADIN KAI, Commander 27 Task Force Brigade, Heads of Security Agencies in Yobe State amongst other Senior officers across OPHK theatre of operations.

High points of the event were dance performances by cultural groups, symbolic serving of troops by the representative of COAS, presentation of souvenir and group photograph.

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