Buhari said this at the Nigerian Army Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade 2023 on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the fighting power of the nation’s army was at low ebb as at May 2015, adding that the situation had tremendously improved with remarkable progress in the fight against insurgents, militants, oil bunkers, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the country.
According to him, this administration has achieved remarkable transformation of the military in the areas of fighting power, training, operations, manpower, remunerations and medical services.
“These are in addition to maintenance, efficiency, accommodation and expansion of forces.
“The improvements in these areas have collectively enhanced the army’s capacity to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate.
“The fighting power of our army was at low ebb as at May 2015,” he said.
According to him, however, seven years later, its fight of power has increased significantly, making its fourth in ranking among African militaries as against seventh in 2015.
“Our interventions and budgetary allocation to the army between 2020 and 2022 alone has been able to procure hundreds of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, troops carrying vehicles, utility vehicles, tanks and armored personnel carriers to augment those earlier procured from 2017 to 2022.
“Significant numbers of new fighting and the utility vehicles, along with artillery guns, machine guns, rifles and correspondent ammunition were acquired and inducted into various theaters of operations.
“This will lead to significant increment in the animal equipment holding since 2015 with a significant improvement in the fighting power as a result of the procurement of equipment and mission specific training,” he said.
Buhari said army had restructured the conduct of its operations to meet current realities, saying the quantum of platforms induced into the army since 2015 had enabled troops to take the battle to the terrorists and criminals, particularly in the northeast.
This, he said, had resulted in the recapture of territories hitherto held by the insurgents, adding that the efforts of the troops leading to unprecedented successes was evident in the increased number of neutralised insurgents and those that voluntarily surrendered alongside their families.
The president said the successes had led to the resettlement of internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes and the restoration of economic activities, in addition to the contribution of the army to global peace support operations.
He said the creation of army aviation was one of the aspects of the ongoing expansion process in the Nigerian army, saying the renewed vigor for authorisation of the aviation unit emanated from a strong desire to effectively tackle contemporary security challenges across the country.
According to him, if the units is fully operationalised, it will provide rapid deployment, closed air support, casualty evacuation, prompt delivery of logistics supply, among other roles.
“As an administration, we have demonstrated commitment to increase the strength of the armed forces in my resolve to secure the country against all challenges.
“It is instructive to state that from 2015, when I was sworn in as the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, I facilitated the recruitment of over 60,000 soldiers for the Nigerian army aside thousands of commissioned officers from the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna.
“In the area of troops welfare, this administration has facilitated the approval of Manual for Financial Administration which has greatly enhanced the pay and allowances of troops.
“This has no doubt boost the troops morale and enhanced the deal. To discharge their constitutional mandate.
“Furthermore, in my resolve to cater for the families of disease personnel, over 50,000 children and wards of personnel who died in active service on the Nigerian Army Scholarship from 2015 to date.
“In terms of infrastructural development, this administration has made determined efforts to surmount the deficit in accommodation and other amenities,” he added.
Buhari said the trooping and presentation of colors parade was significant considering the establishment and operationalisation of new units in line with army’s increasing operational commitments.
He said the existing colours had been excessively involved in multiple operations in various geopolitical zones of the country as well as foreign countries hence desiring of retirement.
“Today’s ceremony is a continuation of our efforts to reinvigorate the fighting secret of our troops through the inculcation of greater pride in their units.
“Let me use this medium to sincerely recommend the officers and men of the army, all members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies for their exceptional performance in various operations across the country.
“Since the inception of this administration, the nation’s security situation was greatly challenged by the activities of violent non state actors.
“Today, I am pleased to specifically note that the situation has tremendously improved and I wish to also proudly highlight that we have made remarkable progress in the fight against insurgents, militants, oil bunkers, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the country,” he said.
Trooping and presentation of colours parade is conducted when retiring the old colours of a regiment/unit and presenting the regiment/unit with a new one.
It entails marching/trooping the old colours past the formed up soldiers of the regiment/unit, retiring the colours, presenting the new colours to the regiment/unit and then consecrating the new colours.
It is usually conducted once in 15 to 20 years as desired by country’s armed forces but the last time such a parade was conducted in Nigeria was in 2007 when 32 units/regiments were issued with new colours.
Today’s event saw the retiring and replacing 53 units’ regimental colours and issuance of 28 new ones for newly established units.