Shock, trepidation, anger and fury were the emotions that enveloped Nigerians when they caught glimpse of a video that went viral in the social media of Boko Haram insurgents gruesomely killing over 40 soldiers in Metele village in Borno State. Some media organisations, including foreign news agencies placed casualty figures at about 100.
It was a major setback in the war against the insurgents the military claimed had been degraded substantially. Since after the civil war, Nigeria has never had a case of over 40 or 100 soldiers being killed in one fell swoop by the enemies of the country.
It is no longer news that since 2015 the military had recorded a considerable success against the Boko Haram terrorists. Prior to 2015, Abuja, the nation’s capital as well as Kaduna, Kano and Gombe states were hard hit by Boko Haram attacks and bombings. The insurgents were also in control of over 20 local government areas in the North East. But when this government came on board in 2015, it routed out the insurgents with a change of command of the military command. Sadly, the military celebrated too early and this necessitated the insurgents to change tactics and jettison their earlier strategy of taking over towns and villages.
In his reaction to the Metele massacre, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed deep shock over the killing of military personnel in Metele village by the Boko Haram terrorists. He assured at the same time that immediate measures are being taken to ensure that the loopholes which led to the fatalities are blocked once and for all.
The president, in a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said that his administration remains ever committed and focused on the security of military personnel and other citizens.
According to Buhari, “no responsible Commander-in-Chief would rest on his oars or fold his hands to allow terrorists to endanger the lives of a country’s military personnel and other citizens.
“Our loyal forces have proved their strength over the terrorists and we are ready to give them all the needed support in terms of equipment and manpower to succeed in ending the renewed threat. In the coming days, I am engaging the military and intelligence Chiefs in extensive discussions on the next steps we shall be taking”, he stated.
The president noted that fighting terrorism has taken a global dimension, which necessitates international collaboration among states facing similar security challenges. He reassured Nigerians of his continued commitment to their security and of his efforts to sustain the momentum in the previous significant successes recorded against the terrorists.
He, however, advised Nigerians against making a political capital out of national tragedy, stressing that members of the Armed Forces are one family who are commonly committed to the security and safety of all Nigerians.
The president also met service chiefs who he commanded to end the insurgent once and for all. On Wednesday, he attended the Chief of Army Staff’s conference in Maiduguri where he ordered the military to eliminate all threats of Boko Haram, declaring that that the war against terrorism is a must win.
“It is a must win war. I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by speculations but remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the surface of the earth”, he stated.
President Buhari assured the military that his administration would continue to address their needs in terms of manpower development and equipment supply, even as he promised that their welfare and entitlements would also be improved.
In a bid to also end the attacks the, president in his capacity as chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), convened a consultation of Heads of State and Government of the LCBC, which took place in N’Djamena, Chad.
The one-day meeting reviewed the security situation in the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency and adopt measures to enhance the capacity of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to meet the challenges of securing the areas.
He said ,”The presidents of the LCBC member countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Central African Republic have been invited to attend the meeting. The President of Benin Republic, a troops-contributing country, has also been invited to attend.
“The MNJTF and the national operations of the affected countries have appreciably degraded the capacity of Boko Haram terrorists, although the insurgents still retain the capacity to attack isolated targets in desperate search for supplies”.
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