The Nigerian Army has achieved its objective of a cutting edge force in 2019 through innovations, inventions and professionalism.Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, disclosed this at the opening of the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2019 on Tuesday in Kaduna.The theme of the conference is “Application of the Cutting Edge of the Nigerian Army in Tackling Contemporary Security Challenges”.He said that the conference was for appraising the activities and efforts toward achieving the overall objective of positioning the Nigerian army to face the task of 2020 and beyond.Buratai disclosed that the successful invention and production of the first indigenous combat vehicles at the Command Engineering Depot was one of the greatest achievements of the army during the year.He said that the production of the Mines Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) nicknamed, ‘Ezugwu MRAP’ was an entirely indigenous production effort from start to finish by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).According to him, the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital was upgraded to the UN Ultramodern Level 4 hospital in Nigeria that will cater for the medical needs of troops and other Nigerians.“These two projects will no doubt save significant foreign exchange of the country which could be used for other developmental purposes.“Within the period under review, the Nigerian army embarked on massive infrastructure development in line with the Nigerian order of battle 2019.“We conducted several local and overseas trainings, we carried out various operations as well as optimised logistical supports among others.“We also evolved seamless and effective measures and improved tremendously in our welfare packages as approved to us by Mr president to boost the morale of troops across the nation.“Additionally, we have intensified our civil military relations effort and we improved on our media relations.“We have also imbibed the best global practices in the conduct of our operations in line with the principles of the law during armed conflict as well as promotion and respect for fundamental human rights of all.“All these efforts constitute the cutting edge of Nigerian army which have been employed to tackle the array of contemporary security challenges,” he said.Buratai commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the Nigerian army.“I want to humbly assure Mr president of our unalloyed loyalty and respect to the constitution,” he said.News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president declared the week long conference opened with notable dignitaries in attendance.Notable among the dignitaries are the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (retired), Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and members of the National Assembly.Others are the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Ali Ndume and the House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas as well as the Chief of Defence Staff and past chiefs of army staff.(NAN)

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