President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army Guards Brigade for their professionalism in the discharge of their constitutional roles.
Buhari, represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, gave the commendation at the Guards Brigade’s 2020 West African Social Activities (WASA) in Abuja on Saturday.
He said the brigade was able to carry out its duties with high level of discipline, professionalism and commitment during the year by ensuring that the FCT remain safe.
“Guard brigade has done very well within the year in ensuring that the Federal Capital Territory remains peaceful, in addition to their enormous responsibility of safeguarding Mr President, the first family and the conduct of ceremonial duties.
“Let me seize this opportunity to commend the officers and soldiers of the Guards Brigade for the professional conduct exhibited during the #EndSARS protest in Abuja.
“I also commend the brigade for executing impactful projects such as the parade pavilion in the barracks; it is a sign of regimentation,” the president said.
Buhari also commended other security agencies for the synergy extended to the guards brigade to ensure that the FCT remains safe
The President, while commending the brigade for 2020 WASA, he said the event brought back so much nostalgic feelings in him, as it reminded him of his days in the military.
“I am happy that Nigerian army has upheld this tradition, bringing officers and soldiers to socialise with their civilian friends and well wishers in a very relaxed environment,” he said.
The Commander, Guards Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Usman, said that WASA was an age long military tradition aimed at creating a relaxed atmosphere for officers, soldiers and their families to socialise with friends to mark the end of a training year.
Usman said the origin of WASA could be traced to as far back as the Second World War, when the Nigerian Army fought as part of the larger West African Frontier Force.
He said that during the period, indigenous communities and West African armies came together to celebrate their cultural heritage with their kinsmen marked with sacrificial offering and cultural dances at the end of every year.
According to him, this age long tradition introduced by the colonial authorities is still being held in most of British former colonies in the West African Sub-region, including Nigeria.
“This unique ceremony also serves as an additional avenue for formations and units in the Nigerian Army to reward soldiers, foster oneness amongst troop and host communities.
“WASA is further used to promote espirit-de-corps with other security agencies who are also invited to the ceremony.
“It provides personnel and their families a veritable avenue to share and enjoy the existing cultural diversity in the barracks,” he said.
Usman said that WASA had also become an avenue for units and formations of the army to showcase their achievements during the years, adding that Guards Brigade achieved most of its training objectives for the 2020.
He said that the Guards Brigade had embarked on projects with tremendous impact in the lives of officers and soldiers, one of which was inaugurated on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the activity featured cultural dances by different ethnic groups, tug of war between battalions and lighting of camp fire as well as raffle draws.
Some soldiers who distinguished themselves in service during the year were presented with award of excellence. (NAN)