The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TA Lagbaja, ably represented by the Corps Commander Engineers, Maj Gen PE Eromosele, on 25 December 2023 Christmas Day treated troops of Exercise STILL WATERS III to Special Christmas Lunch at the 9 Brigade Step Up Headquarters, Forward Operating Base IBAFO along Lagos – Ibadan Expressway. The special lunch is in line with the command philosophy of the COAS, which holds the welfare of personnel and families in high esteem. The Special Christmas Lunch was to further boost the morale of the troops deployed in the field for the security of law- abiding citizens during the yuletide celebrations.
The event host, Brig Gen AM Adetuyi, Commander 9 Brigade Nigerian Army, in his Welcome Address expressed great delight on behalf of officers and soldiers of 9 Brigade, for the Chief of Army Staff Special Christmas Lunch for the troops deployed in the field during the festive season. He recalled that the Chief of Army Staff flagged off Exercise STILL WATERS III and other NODUF exercises across the nation at the same Forward Operating Base IBAFO, on 10 October 2023, in order to make the environment safe, secured and conducive for the festivities that come with the yuletide season, while denying criminal elements freedom of action at the various Areas of Responsibility.
Brig Gen Adetuyi further highlighted some of the successes so far recorded in the Exercise, including keeping Lagos Metropolis and parts of Ogun State free of armed robbery, significant reduction in violent activities of cultists, reduction in drug associated violence, and significant reduction in cases of kidnapping, among others.
The Brigade Commander also mentioned a marked reduction in cases of oil thefts and pipeline vandalism in the Brigade Area of Responsibility through the Exercise. He reiterated the 3 main pillars of the COAS Command Philosophy, which is Leadership, Operational Effectiveness, and Sound Administration, which serves as an inspiring legacy for all field commanders to follow.
The troops were thereafter treated to sumptuous meals while enjoying the privilege to be served by the COAS representative, and the General Officer Commanding 81 Division Maj Gen MT Usman, as well as the Commander 9 Brigade, amidst musical melodies by the 9 Brigade Band.
In his remarks, the COAS commended the sacrifices of the troops in keeping their Area of Responsibility and by extension the entire nation safe and secured while other law abiding citizens are enjoying the festivities of the yuletide season. He reiterated his commitment to their welfare as encapsulated in his Command Philosophy and numerous schemes lined up to that effect. He stated that in the coming year, the Nigerian Army expects to take delivery of its helicopters and other combat enablers that will see a better security environment developed across the country.
The COAS further stated that the Army Headquarters has initiated several welfare projects that will directly Impact the lives of soldiers and their families. He further mentioned that the Army will continue to work tirelessly to provide troops with necessary resources and support to carry out their duties effectively. The COAS urged commanders to spend time with their comrades, share joyful moments and heartfelt conversations, and find solace in the camaraderie that binds them together as a formidable. He went ahead to remind the troops that the entire nation stands with them and support them in every step to defeating the adversaries in order to have a peaceful Nigeria.
Other senior officers that graced the COAS Special Christmas Lunch were Director Army Real Estate Brig Gen SN Bitrus, unit/sub-unit commanders in 9 Brigade and staff officers from the Division and Brigade Headquarters, among others.
The highlight of the event was filled with a variety of sumptuous meals enjoyed by the troops, excitements, presentation of souvenirs, and group photographs. Attached are some of the pictures taken at the event.