Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has lauded the efforts of the federal government in combating the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.
He particularly hailed the efforts of the theatre commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen. Rogers Nicholas and the field commander, multi national joint task force (MNJTF) Maj Gen. Lucky Irabor’s efforts in degrading the Boko Haram insurgents.
Addressing the 9th edition of the special town hall meeting, for the military and security agencies in Maiduguri on Monday, the Governor said the troops successful combed the nooks and crannies of Sambisa forest which was not been achieved in the past three years.
He noted that some of the greatest achievement achieved in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency was achieved under theater commander’s who are not northerners.
He also urged the federal government to render more support to the Armforces ahead of the rainy season, saying if the rainy season sets, the Sambisa forest can become more thick and fortress for Boko Haram to regroup.
According to him, “Nobody could venture out of Maiduguri beyond 10 kilometers, you are in Boko Haram territory, Yerwa was the end of Nigeria, while in Maiduguri-Bama road nobody can move beyond Konduga, also Maiduguri-Monguno road in the northern part of Borno state was the end of Nigeria. The only road to Maiduguri was the Maiduguri Kano road which was also subjected to sporadic attacks by insurgents.”
“To most of us in the northeast, terrorism was not a subject of philosophical history but a reality of everyday life, so if there are any set of people who are the beneficiaries of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration strides in the fight against insecurity, is we in the northeast.
“The fact is, there is strength in the nation’s diverse, it might interest you to note that some of our greatest accomplishment in degrading the Boko Haram insurgents was recorded under theatre commanders who are not even from the northern extraction.
“Basically, what the Armforces have achieved in the past three to six weeks was not achieved in three years. The theatre commander recording this successes is an Igbo man from Imo state, Gen Nicholas Rogers.
“We have to make this country work for the sake of the Africa race, one of every four black man is a Nigerian.
“We will urge the federal government to render more support to the Armforces because if the rainy season sets in the Sambisa forest becomes a fortress for Boko Haram and they might use the opportunity to regroup.
“It is pertinent for us to maintain this tempo, the moral and link upwind every nation including Cameroon, Chad, and Niger let’s synergies with them.
“In my discussion with journalists from the nation’s capital yesterday, I told them that attacks on soft targets are signs of weakness of the Boko Haram, they have been sufficiently degraded, but a lot of work can still be done, to bring this madness to stop, this are set of people holding on to territories.
“Insurgents are lunatics who bask in the oxygen of publicity, luckily and quite unfortunate they are getting the desired publicity, which to them means a lot in the international Jihadist community.
“I want to urge you all to support the federal government and the Armforces, soldiers who die in the epicenter are Nigerians, many of who are not northerners.
“Gen Nicholas took over from a northerner who could not perform, so I wish him a successful career.”
The minister of Defence, rtd Gen. Dan Ali, noted that there has been a reduced activities of insecurity in the country.
He said this was achieved because of the efforts of PMB
He averred that the security agencies are now ever ready to stem all forms of insecurity in the country.
Quoting his conversations with US President Donald Trump, he said he acknowledged that “Nigeria military are very strong.”
Ali noted that gone are the days when military personnel will drop their rifles and run saying, it will never happen again.
He also lauded the efforts of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) for their aerial bombardment of the strong holds of the insurgents.
On the welfare of troops, he said the current administration has always paid there allowance and salaries, which serves as motivation, and troops who overstayed in the epicenter of war are redeployed.
“Building of barracks and promotion are done to increase the morale of troops,” he added.
In his address, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that the war against Boko Haram insurgents have come a long way from those days, when Boko Haram could strike at a place and time of their own choosing, when Boko Haram conquered and administered territories.
He recalled that not even Abuja, the heartland of the nation, was safe from the insurgents’ attacks. “Today, Boko Haram is no longer capable of carrying out coordinated attacks anywhere. All they do now is to engage in cowardly attacks on soft targets. That, in itself, is a sign of weakness.”
The minister said President Buhari charted the path to where we are today, adding that in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015, he gave the nation a roadmap for the defeat of Boko Haram, which he described as the most immediate of the security challenges facing the nation.
He said the President said victory cannot be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja and directed the relocation of the command centre to Maiduguri until Boko Haram is completely subdued.
He said the president also visited our neighbouring countries, including Chad, Niger and Cameroon, and some Western countries, to rally their support for the fight against the insurgency.
“Let’s be clear: We didn’t get to where we are today by accident. Our gallant men and women in uniform have made all the sacrifices, including the supreme sacrifice, to bring us here.
“Our political and military leaders have shown leadership in getting us here, unlike in the past when, in the words of Mr. President, official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion made Boko Haram a terrifying force. The ordinary folks have also shown great resilience and support to bring us here. We are eternally grateful to all.
“The efforts have paid off. Let me quote the President: ”We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.”
He noted that the last phase of the war on Boko Haram is on now., saying the military is punching deep into the enclaves of the insurgents, rescuing women and children and catalysing the surrender of many insurgents.
Alhaji Mohammed said over this past weekend alone, the military handed over more than 82 women and children rescued from the insurgents to the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) right here in Maiduguri.
“Among them is Rabi Abu-Yasir, said to be the wife of Boko Haram’s chief physician. This is commendable. Since this last phase of the war is intelligence-driven, we will like to appeal to the people in the affected areas to cooperate with the military in terms of providing information, especially about fleeing Boko Haram insurgents. There is the need for vigilance now, more than at any other time. More than 100 Chibok girls have so far been rescued. The government is committed to the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls, and we need every useful information we can get on their whereabouts.
“With Boko Haram beaten and on the run, we are now tackling the post-war challenges of reintegration and rehabilitation. The schools that have been destroyed as a result of years of the insurgency are being rebuilt. The health facilities are being revamped. Overall, our humanitarian response is being scaled up, with the support of our international friends.
“Before I round off my speech, let me crave your indulgence to sincerely commend the Government of Borno State for its massive post-war reconstruction programme, as we have seen in the short documentary that we have just watched. In December 2015, I led a team of local and international journalists to visit some newly-liberated towns then, including Konduga, Kaure and Bama. In Bama in particular, not a single edifice was left untouched by the insurgents’ destructive spree. Just about two years later, the situation has been turned around for good, thanks to the determined efforts of a committed state government. Congratulations, Your Excellency, for making such a giant strides in the reconstruction efforts,” he added.
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