I am very proud and very pleased to be here today on
this occasion of the passing out of the 62nd Regular
Course and Short Service Course 43 (Army) officer
cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
2. This passing out ceremony is special to me as it is
the first to hold since the assumption of office of my
administration. It also comes a year after the history-
making Golden Jubilee celebrations exactly one year
ago. The successful training of cadets over the years is
a clear manifestation of your hard work and dedication
to duty. By this, the Nigerian Defence Academy has
once again justified the vision and wisdom of our
Founding Fathers in establishing this institution.
3. I note that the Academy has consistently proved its
worth over the past 51 years by turning out well
trained and well disciplined officers for the Armed
Forces of our great country. It is a matter of national
pride that the Nigerian Defence Academy has, over the
years, also trained and graduated cadets from a
number of sister African countries. These include the
Republic of Liberia, Uganda and Togo. Others are
Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
4. Successive Nigerian Governments have developed
our armed forces into one that is well trained, efficient
and equipped to meet national security challenges. Our
government is determined to confront current
challenges and long term plans for the development of
the Armed forces.
5. The execution of an excellent parade such as the
one we have just witnessed requires tremendous hard
work, high standard of discipline, rigorous training and
rehearsal. I am proud to note that the Academy has
consistently adopted best global practices in both
military and academic training of the cadets. This has
indeed reflected in the world class training the Nigerian
Defence Academy offers.
6. It is little wonder that the Academy has earned a
solid reputation as the pioneer military university in
Africa. This no doubt justifies the nation’s huge
investment in this institution. Let me, therefore extend
my well deserved congratulations to the Commandant,
staff and gentlemen cadets of the Academy on this
memorable occasion.
7. For you, the passing out cadets, today marks the
end of your very tough training in the Academy and
the beginning of your career as officers in the Armed
Forces. As you are aware, some of those who started
the course with you discontinued because they could
not withstand the rigours of the physical, mental and
intellectual challenges which you gallantly endured.
8. I heartily congratulate you for the successful
completion of your training. You have every right to
feel proud and fulfilled on an occasion like this. Based
on the high quality of training you have received here
at the Nigerian Defence Academy, I have no doubt that
you will have no difficulty fitting into the activities of
the various Services into which you will be
commissioned. You must therefore be prepared to play
your roles as junior leaders in tackling the prevailing
security challenges with guidance and supervision
from your superiors who are discharging their duties
with diligence.
9. Furthermore, the nation demands of you exemplary
conduct and professionalism wherever you are
deployed, be it locally on internal security operation
missions or internationally in Peace Support Operation
missions around the world.
10. Distinguished invited guests, permit me at this
point to remind these young men and women that
security remains the most important challenge in this
Administration’s “Change” programme. The objectives
our fight against terrorism cannot be realized without
a credible and effective military. On your shoulders
therefore lies the mechanism to drive the junior
leadership in our Armed Forces. The Armed Forces of
Nigeria have a world-acclaimed reputation for valour,
resilience and loyal service.
11. As you will shortly be granted the highly coveted
Presidential Commission, I urge you to emulate the
good examples of your senior colleagues in the field.
You must avoid any behavior that will tarnish your
honour and dignity as commissioned officers. Your
commitment and loyalty to the Armed Forces and the
Nation must be total. You must strive to live up to the
demand and expectations required of you.
12. I am aware that your training at the Nigerian
Defence Academy has sufficiently prepared you to key
into and become the main drivers of attitudinal change
which remains a cardinal principle of Nigerian Armed
Forces development process.
13. I therefore, urge you to take your roles in the on-
going process of rebuilding our Armed Forces very
seriously. The Federal Government is pleased with the
Armed Forces resolve to end the insurgency facing the
country today once and for all. We are determined to
honour our obligation to support the speedy provision
of platforms and equipment within available resources
to achieve both this objective and long term needs of
the Armed Forces. You should also be encouraged by
the growing support our neighbours and the global
community have recently pledged to our renewed
counterinsurgency efforts.
14. We acknowledge the cooperation of our neighbours
in the Lake Chad Basin Commission for their re-
commitment to the Multi-National Joint Taskforce
(MNJTF) whose activities helped push out the
insurgents from Nigerian territory earlier in the year. My
recent visits to the Republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroon,
and Benin were intended to further strengthen this
inevitable regional approach to counterinsurgency.
15. In addition to their recent U$5 million pledge, the
United States Government has also committed to
deepening its collaboration with our Armed Forces in
intelligence and training. Similarly, other countries,
namely Canada, France, United Kingdom, China and
Germany have pledged to support our efforts to defeat
the insurgents.
16. As you go into your formations and the field, I wish
to remind you of Federal Government commitment to
overhaul the rules of engagement and improve
operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary
steps are taken against proven human rights
violations by the armed forces. We are committed to a
thorough investigation of recent and any future
occurrences of human rights violations by elements of
our Armed Forces.
17. While I applaud the integrity and sterling record of
the Armed Forces as an institution, this administration
will insist on the rule of law, and deal with any proven
cases of deviation from laws of armed conflict (LOAC),
including human rights abuses. In operational conduct
Nigerians expect our Armed Forces to keep law and
order and not to behave like bullies.
18. The Commandant, distinguished Guests,
graduands, let me reiterate the administration’s
renewed commitment to due process, merit and total
observance of the rule of law as central pillars of a
prosperous and democratic society. Rule of law as an
element of good governance applies to the Armed
Forces as much as any institution in our country. It is
therefore gratifying to note that recently all three
Services have taken steps to not only emphasize on
strict adherence to rules in area of recruitment,
promotions, procurement, project executions, and more
importantly, in civil-military relations.
19. May I now share my joy with families and friends
of the passing out cadets? Without your prayers, love
and emotional support, these cadets would not have
been able to remain committed and focused
throughout the duration of their training. However, I
would like to quickly remind you that the more difficult
part of the journey is about to begin. I therefore enjoin
you to continue your prayers and support towards
keeping them on the path of honour, probity and
integrity so as to enhance their prospects of rising to
the pinnacle of their careers of defending the nation.
Commandant, Your Excellencies,
20. I would like to commend the NDA Leadership for
reminding everybody that NDA is a Professional Military
Education (PME) institution. In this regard, serious
efforts have been made to ensure that academic
endeavors must necessarily relate and serve the
professional needs of the military. I expect that
ongoing efforts to review all academic courses of study
towards enhancing the professional education capacity
of the military will soon be completed. The message of
these ongoing reviews, which I hereby reiterate, is that
Nigeria is blessed with many civil universities.
21. NDA must therefore carve out a niche for itself as a
military research university because of its uniqueness,
instead of mirror-imaging and competing with civil
universities. That is why I want to recognize and
commend the current Commandant for continuing to
support the new Centres of Excellence established by
his predecessor.
22. These include the Centre of Leadership and
Complex Operations, the Centre for Critical Thinking,
Teaching and Learning, the Center for Languages, the
Institute for Psychology and the Institute of Advanced
Technology Applications. To drive these new
programmes, a new Faculty of Military Science and
Interdisciplinary Studies (FMSIS) and Faculty of
Engineering and Technology (FET) were initiated.
23. We look forward to these Centres maturing to begin
to study, research, build capacities and suggest
solutions to the burning leadership issues and
challenges of our time. I will be remiss if I fail to
express appreciation for the Academy’s partnership
with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA)
since April 2015 to absorb and provide counselling
and rehabilitation services to over 300 Internally
Displaced widows and orphans under the “Countering
Violent Extremism (CVE) Programme,” a “soft
approach” to combating terrorism developed by the
Federal Government.
24. Let me assure you that the Federal Government will
continue to work towards facilitation of the completion
of the NDA’s Permanent Site.
25. Finally, I congratulate the Commandant and staff
of the Academy, once again, on the successful training
of yet another set of future leaders for our Armed
Forces and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia,
Benin Republic and Central African Republic. I urge you
to remain steadfast in your uncommon task of
producing world-class officers who will continue to
bring home laurels for the Nigerian Defence Academy
and for Nigerians.
Thank you.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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