The new phase of collaboration between the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Nigerian Army was re-echoed amidst pomp and ceremony, as Governor Umo Eno treated the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Toareed Lagbaja and his entourage to a State banquet at Government House, Uyo.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor used the occasion to celebrate the elevation and return of Toareed Lagbaja to the state as a three-star General and Nigeria’s 23rd Chief of Army Staff, a few years after he had served as Commander 2 Brigade, Uyo, describing his visit as homecoming.
The governor also commended Major General Uwem Bassey for the initiative of undertaking an intervention to construct three new classroom blocks, renovate staff quarters, and provide water and sanitation facilities in a rural school in the State which were inaugurated by the COAS earlier in the day, describing them as lofty and in line with the intents of his administration’s A.R.I.S.E Agenda.
Governor Eno also urged State citizens in the top echelon of the Military and other Federal Government agencies to identify with their home state to familiarise themselves with the governance and development needs of the people, adding that his administration was open to participation by well-meaning indigenes and would initiate a periodic convergence of such indigenes for the purposes of uniting and moving the State forward.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Toareed Lagbaja, who described his reception in the state as warm and exceptional, expressed gratitude to the government and people of Akwa Ibom for always filling his heart with good memories of friendship and hospitality and thanked the State government for its enormous supports to enhance the operations of the Army formation and units in the State amid the sterling developments across the State.
General Lagbaja said the ARISE Agenda and other initiatives of Governor Umo Eno’s administration will go a long way to boost the operation of the Army in the Akwa Ibom and enhance surveillance on water, pledging the commitment of the force to do more.
Also, Major General Uwem Bassey of the Nigerian Defence Research and Development Bureau, thanked the government and people of the state for the warm reception and appreciated the COAS for initiating the community development programme for senior officers in the army to impact their communities and for granting him the approval and support to execute the project on his alma mater, the Mbiabong Etim Primary School in Ini Local Government Area.