President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday reminded the military of their sacred duty to protect Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic or religious backgrounds.
Mr Buhari spoke at the Passing Out Parade of 114 medics of the Nigerian Air Force Short Service Course 29, in Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 114 cadets included medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses, veterinary doctors, dentists, and radiologists, among others, who underwent six months training at the Military Training Centre (MTC) Kaduna.
“Let me remind you that we are in a democratic government where you are subjected to both military and civil laws.
“Hence, you must subordinate yourself to civil authority and protect our growing democracy.
“You should be vigilant, guard your utterances, and conduct at all times.
“You must also not allow yourself to be used by some elements in the society to compromise national security or act in ways capable of denting the image of the Armed Forces.
“Your duty is to protect all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic background or religious inclination.
“Your loyalty must therefore never be in doubt at any point in time as an officer,” the Commander-in-Chief stressed.
President Buhari, who was the reviewing officer at the passing out parade, charged the officers to be ready to consolidate the recent and rapid expansion of medical facilities put in place by the current leadership of the NAF.
“You have every reason to feel proud and fulfilled for what you have achieved. It is important to remind you that this is the beginning of yet another challenging but rewarding career as young officers in the Nigerian Air Force.”
He added: “I expect that you will do your best to further enhance NAF’s efforts towards boosting qualitative healthcare for personnel, their dependants and among residents of NAF host communities including sustaining medical outreaches for civilians and victims of insurgency and banditry.
“I am confident that you will be able to cope with the demanding tasks ahead, given the quality of training that you have received.
“This pragmatic approach to promote civil-military relations will go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of the communities, thus assisting in timely containment of insurgency, banditry and other security challenges.
“I understand that all the cadets graduating today are well-trained medical consultants, nurses and support staff diligently selected for the six months basic military training, which is culminating into you being commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force.
“The military profession requires absolute discipline, loyalty and hard work among other virtues.”
The president, who was represented by Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, stressed that as medical professionals, their services would be required to save lives as the military battle insurgency and other security challenges.
“Such noble service demands exceptional courage, commitment and patriotism and Nigeria will continue to demand such qualities from you.”
Mr Buhari assured Nigerians that the government was doing so much to confront the security challenges bedevilling the country by taking necessary measures to safeguard lives and properties and to drastically cut off all forms of criminalities.
“I gladly inform you and indeed all Nigerians that the Nigerian Air Force is consistently supporting these government efforts.”
He, therefore, urged them to positively deploy the training that has been inculcated in them to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity and interest.
The president commended the Chief of the Air Staff for his robust capacity initiatives responsible for a disciplined, highly professional, and timely deployable air force.
Mr Buhari also congratulated the graduating cadets for withstanding the rigours of the training.
“I celebrate with you and your families, friends and loved ones on this day,” the president said.
NAN reports that awards were given to cadets who distinguished themselves during the course.
After the passing out parade, the cadets were formally commissioned to their various ranks by the reviewing officer.