WELCOME ADDRESS BY LT GEN TY BURATAI CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 6TH AFRICAN LAND FORCES SUMMIT ABUJA 0N 16 APRIL 2018

1. I am delighted to welcome our Special Guest of Honour, the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Gabriel Olonisakin. It is also my honour and privilege to welcome our invited guests and participants from around the globe. Permit me to also welcome all other distinguished guests who have taken time to Honour our invitation despite their busy schedules. I urge all our friends from outside Nigeria to feel at home and explore Nigeria’s hospitality, culture and variety of cuisines. We are indeed honoured by your presence as we look forward to your invaluable contributions and deliberations during the Summit. Let me appreciate the Federal Government of Nigeria for approving the hosting of this summit in Nigeria. Our President, Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari as a strategist knows the importance of military alliances and cooperation. The 6th ALFS being opened today is aimed at achieving a grand strategy for Africa and her allies.
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2. As you relish the ambience of Nigeria and look forward to exciting deliberations of the 6th African Land Forces Summit, it is gratifying to recall that the 5th African Land Forces Summit 2017 held at Lilongwe in Malawi provided an avenue for the United States Army Africa and other partners to collaborate and address African Security problems. Highlight of the Summit was the knowledge shared in standardizing African Forces and concepts, which is a key requirement for regional interoperability. I must say that the outcome has translated into our ability to better enhance security within Africa, protect civilians and promote good governance that advances stability.


3. No doubt, the wealth of experience shared by Army Chiefs from across the continents that graced the event, significantly contributed to meeting the objectives of the 5th Edition. Drawing from this, I want to specifically thank the Government of the United States and United States Army Africa for giving Nigeria and the Nigerian Army the right to co-host the 6th Edition.
4. The African Land Forces Summit is the single largest gathering of African senior military leaders and other senior Army Chiefs from across the globe on the continent. The forum affords the African countries the avenue to share experiences on global terrorism and to forge common approach to combating transnational threats and crimes such as violent extremist organizations, terrorism, arms proliferation and piracy. The Summit also affords military leaders the opportunity to interact with the aim of strengthening existing relationships and developing new ones. I have no doubt that this Summit will present us with ideas and ways to tackle our numerous challenges bordering on security and military professionalism.
5. Terrorism, proliferation of small arms, piracy and human trafficking remain the major security challenges facing the African continent with rippling effects across the globe. Activities of violent extremist organizations such as Boko Haram, Alshabaab, Ansarudeen and Alqaeda in the Magreb have continued to keep our security forces busy and committed to ensure safety of lives and properties. In this regard, I am delighted to inform you that Nigeria has recorded significant progress in taming the excesses of the Boko Haram Terrorists Group. I hope to give you some insights on our operational commitments as well as update on the current situation during plenary. It is my view that combating the menace of Boko Haram and other violent extremist organizations would require collaborative efforts. Therefore, I want to emphasize that our collective action and inaction will have an impact on our efforts to ensure safety and stability of our individual countries, Africa and the world in general.
6. I therefore, urge all of us to bring to bear our wealth of experiences and expertise to proffer solutions to our security problems. I implore everyone here to engage in deliberate discussions that would explore viable avenues towards forging friendship and alliances that would facilitate us to surmount our challenges. Let me at this point reaffirm the Nigerian Army’s unflinching commitment to take lead roles in Africa towards ensuring peace, security and sustainable development. On this note, I wish to convey our desire to continue to partner with our allies and inform you that the Nigerian Army training institutions are open to all interested countries who desire to train their personnel in Nigeria.
7. I am aware that the success of this Summit is an outcome of many months of preparations. I therefore, wish to thank all those who contributed in making this Summit a reality. I want to once again thank the Government of the United States of America and the United States Army Africa for initiating and sponsoring the Summit. Our gratitude also goes to our invited guests and participants from over 60 countries and their governments in making the 6th Edition of the African Land Forces Summit a reality. Before I conclude, permit me to state that, the organization of the African Land Forces Summit is the initiative of the United States Army Africa. This initiative we must fully support it as African Land Forces Commanders. Once again I welcome you all to Nigeria and wish you fruitful and rewarding deliberations.
Thank you and God bless.
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