FILE PHOTO: Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, represented by Maj.-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, on Friday, attended Christmas church service with troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Friday, attended Christmas church service with troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Nigerian Army Special Forces School, Bunu Yadi in Yobe.

Buratai, who was represented at the Military Chapel by the Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Maj.-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo commended them for their commitment and gallantry in the war against insurgency in the North-East throughout the year.

Buratai said the year 2020 started on a promising note before the country went under strict lockdown restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

He said the security challenges across the country necessitated an expansion of its counter-insurgency operations and civil-military coordination activities during the year.

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According to him, the Nigerian Army was able to quickly adapt to the COVID-19 restrictions and develop capacities which kept its personnel engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the North East, while other theatres of operations continued to record steady successes even in the face of daunting challenges.

“In all these, I am deeply encouraged by the display of loyalty of our gallant troops and I commend you for your determined resilience towards defeating all identified threats to our national security.

“I urge you not to relent in your efforts and let me at this point pay tribute to our departed heroes who paid the supreme sacrifice in the service to our fatherland.

“For the families of the departed as well as to our injured personnel, I say you are not alone,” he said.

The COAS assured the troops that the Federal Government is ready to provide all necessary support to enable them to carry out their constitutional roles.

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He pledged his commitment to ensuring that training, capacity building and welfare of the personnel were accorded the highest priority.

Buratai commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for their support to the Nigerian Army to successfully discharge its constitutional roles.

He restated the commitment of the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in the defence of the territorial integrity of the country.

“Finally, I urge you to continue to demonstrate unalloyed loyalty to the President and to remain apolitical while ensuring the sustenance of democracy.

“Once again, I thank you all for your service this year and I commend you for a job well done.

“As we celebrate the Christmas and New Year, we must be mindful of the rising cases of the COVID-19.

“I, therefore, enjoin you to continue to observe strictly the NCDC protocols on COVID-19 during the season,” he said.

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The Chaplain, Lt. Ladanson Dahiru, in his sermon, said that Christmas was to be a period of sober reflection on the love of God towards mankind.

He said there was a need to appreciate God for his gift to humanity by showing love towards one another.

Reading from the book of Luke 2:1-10, the Chaplain said that Christmas should also be a season of reconciliation, adding that the birth of Jesus Christ reconciled man back to God.

Buratai treated the troops to Christmas luncheon in his tradition to always celebrate festive seasons with troops at the battlefront.