The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja has charged troops to show greater sacrifice and dedication to end security challenges bedevilling Nigeria.

He stated this on Monday during the Eid-el Kabir feast with troops of the North-East Joint Task Force Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

Lagbaja said that, “as an army, it has been a year of unquantifiable sacrifice in blood and treasure.

“We have lost gallant warriors and precious equipment to our ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism, banditry, secessionist agitations, oil-related economic crimes, amongst others.

“Our troops have displayed uncommon courage and faith in our dear country in the face of grave danger and, like the good soldiers that they are, you came out victorious for our nation.”

According to him, many bear the badge of courage and bravery in the form of battle scars and deformities, while others are lucky to only have memories and stories to tell of their sacrifices to the country.

He noted that there was no doubt that the “Feast of Sacrifice,” as it is known, is one of the significant celebrations in the Islamic calendar during which Muslims demonstrate their obedience to Allah by sacrificing animals.

“This year’s Eid-el Kabir celebration particularly calls for introspection on how we have fared as individuals and an army.

“This past year, as it comes just six days to my completing one year in office as Chief of Army Staff.

“It is thus a period to reflect on the past year and show gratitude to God for the gift of life, relative peace that we have been able to restore to most parts of our country, and above all, hope for a better Nigeria.

“I am not unacquainted with the economic realities of our times and how that might have impacted the scale of this year’s Eid-el Kabir celebration and our standard of living in general.

“This reality is not peculiar to our dear country but a global economic issue that the government of the day is sincerely and carefully managing,” he said.

He said the government deserves understanding, support, and unflinching loyalty at this critical period to implement necessary reforms to reset the system and restore the desured economic prosperity.

The COAS enjoined Nigerian Army personnel and their family members to use the Eid celebration, to renew their commitments to personal sacrifice for the growth and development of the country.

According to him, such sacrifices, seen and unseen, are the bedrock of the nation’s security and prosperity.

While acknowledging their dedication, Lagbaja, reiterated commitment to providing the required leadership to train, live and fight well.

“I salute your courage and resilience. Your efforts are crucial to our national security, and I assure you that your sacrifices will not go unnoticed”.

Lagbaja further lauded President Bola Tinubu for his support and focused leadership.

Also speaking, Maj.-Gen. Waidi Shuaibu, the Theartre Commander, OPHK, said that Lagbaja’s visit marked the gradually winding down of dry season operation in the North-East.

Shuaibu said the items displayed at the event highlighted the efficiency of its operational engagements through doggedness and bravery of the troops.

According to Shuaibu, the surrendered women and children, neutralised and captured terrorists as well as recovered equipment are not mere symbols of victory but a significant representation of the sacrifices of the gallant troops.

He said that some of the gallant officers and soldiers wounded in action during the operations that recovered the platforms attended the Sallah feast.

“To the wounded in action, you have our utmost respect and commitment at ensuring your full recovery.

“We also pray that Almighty God continues to grant eternal rest to the souls of those that paid the supreme price during the various operations,” he said.

Shuaibu said the event availed the troops the previlege to celebrate the season with the COAS, adding that the gesture would boost their morale to be more dedicated towards peace restoration in the region. (NAN

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