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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya, has charged Army personnel to be focused and resilient in discharging their constitutional duties of protecting the country from all forms of adversaries.

Yahaya gave the charge at the end of the 2021 combined West African Social Activities (WASA) for institutions at the Jaji militarily cantonment on Friday, in Kaduna.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that WASA is an age-long annual military tradition of celebrating a successful administrative and training year.

Yahaya, represented by the Director-General, Defence Simulation, Maj-Gen Godwin Umelo, said the event was a forum for informal and social interaction for the barracks community, to showcase the rich and diverse cultures of the nation.

He added that the event was also an avenue for the barrack community to refresh themselves in a relaxed atmosphere, while preparing for next year.

“The brilliant display by the various cultural troupes that performed this afternoon is encouraging as it affirms the long-standing tradition that links the Nigerian Army with our cultural backgrounds has not been broken.

Yahaya also said that the aim of gathering for WASA to promote cultural harmony, team spirit and tolerance among military personnel had been achieved.

He charged the Army personnel on the need to uphold the core values of loyalty, self-service, courage, discipline, integrity and respect for others at all times, in order to sustain Nigeria’s democracy.

“As you commence another training and administrative year, I implore you all to remain focused and highly resilient, you must avoid all actions that are capable of affecting your ability to discharge your duties professionally, in line with global best practices.

“This is particularly important especially now that the Nigerian Army is engaged in several operational tasks which are under the observation and scrutiny of the global security community.

Earlier in his address, the Commander, Infantry Corps, Maj-Gen Victor Ezugwu, said the year 2021 WASA activities were combined for various institutions at the Jaji military cantonment, comprising the headquarters Infantry Corps Centre and Nigerian Army School of Infantry.

He said others were the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre, the Warrant Officers Academy, 4 Demonstration and headquarters Infantry Corps Centre, and the Administrative battalions respectively.

Ezugwu explained that the origin of WASA was linked to the period of the West African Frontier Force, when persons of divergent cultural and social background began joining the army.

“Sacrifices were usually offered at the end of harvests or the beginning of the planting season to their gods and ancestors for a bounty harvest, as well as for peaceful co-existence in the new year,” he said.

“Invitations were usually sent to the military by village heads to seek the participation of soldiers for this annual ritual; rather than releasing soldiers yearly to perform the ritual, the military authority then incorporated it in the army activities and tagged it WASA, the Hausa word for play”.

NAN reports that the event featured displays of rich cultural dances and songs, competitions, among others, and awards were given to personnel who distinguished themselves in their various duties.(NAN)

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