By Augustine Ehikioya
Elated with the programmes of the Security Watch Africa Initiatives, the former Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Ambassador, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai (Rtd), on Tuesday accepted to be the Lead Guest Speaker at the 17th Africa Security Watch Awards and Conference scheduled for the United Arabs Emirates (UAE), Dubai in November 2022.
He conveyed his acceptance when Security Watch Africa (SWA) Team led by its President/C.E.O., Mr. Patrick Agbambu, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The former COAS also commended the Security Watch Africa for the excellent work it has been doing over the years.
He said “I appreciate Security Watch Africa for this. It is an honour and I want to assure you that I will be there to receive the award. I will be there to deliver the lecture as the Lead Guest Speaker.
“I commend the Security Watch Africa for the excellent work you have been doing. You have been focused, objective and nonpartisan and that’s what journalism should be.”
The former COAS also harped on the need to urgently put in place the Africa Standby Force.
This, he said, will go a long way in tackling the series of security challenges facing the African continent.
According to him, so much work has already been done towards setting up the Africa Standby Force even before he became Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff.
“If it is properly resourced in terms of manpower and equipment, the challenges we are facing in the continent will be properly tackled,” he said.
He also noted that the rampant attacks of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria from the year 2011 was adequately curtailed when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board in 2015.
The achievements against the terrorists, he said, were made possible due to the contributions of well-meaning stakeholders including other security agencies and traditional rulers.
Pointing out that the new security challenges that have emerged in other parts of the country outside the North East are not insurmountable, he said “I believe the government is concerned. It is not sitting idle.
“The current state of fear in some quarters will soon be resolved,” he assured.
He urged the people not to leave everything to the government and always be forthcoming with relevant information.
Amb. Buratai also advised Security Watch Africa to continue to support the security and intelligence agencies towards overcoming security challenges.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Agbambu, noted that Amb. Buratai came on board as the COAS to change the security narrative in the country and made Nigerians feel safer and they could move around freely.
“That is the story we want to tell the world. You have offered so much service to Nigeria and Africa and you still have more to offer the world,” he stated.
He also said that the former COAS did not rest after retirement as he played a great role to stop the South West from toeing the footsteps of some youths in the South East.