President Muhammadu Buhari has told the military that the war against Boko Haram is a must win and they should know that their duty is to eliminate Boko Haram from the face of earth.
Buhari, who urged the armed forces to remain focused and committed in ensuring that the task was achieved, also called on them to be vigilant during the 2019 electioneering.
Addressing top military officers at the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference in Maiduguri, Borno State, Buhari said, “I will be visiting some of our injured troops in hospitals and also talk to others at their bases to assure them of our continued support. It is a must win war; I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by speculations but to remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the face of earth.”
Buhari, who admitted that the war on the insurgents suffered some setbacks recently, said, “One of the cardinal objectives of this government is security. In this regard, the Nigerian Army’s efforts have led to the dislodgement of insurgents from areas hitherto viewed as their strongholds, rescue of abducted persons, return of internally displaced persons and the gradual return to normalcy in the North -East.
“The effort of the military has also stabilised the security situation in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country and curtailed the clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
“I must commend the selfless sacrifices of our armed forces especially the heroic officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army who by virtue of their commitment to operations all over the country have brought about the desired peace.”
“The officers and soldiers who are fighting against the scourge of terrorism in the North-East deserve all the attention our country’s leadership can demonstrate to them.
“As President of the country, I am determined to ensure that every citizen feels safe and secure in all parts of the country. To achieve this, the security agencies must rise to the challenge and curb threats to security in our country.”
He said: “The Armed Forces play a critical role in safeguarding the country, hence you must all ensure that your plans and programmes meet the challenges we face.
“I am glad that this conference is holding at this time, because it serves as a platform to assess and evaluate your performance for the Year 2018.
“There has been a remarkable improvement in the security situation in the North-East since 2015 when this administration came into government and you are a major part of the successes that have been achieved.
“I am aware that in the recent months and in recent days, there have been some operational losses in the northern part of Borno State, particularly in Jilli, Arege and Metele.”
The President who held a minute silence for soldiers recently killed by insurgents in Metele, said, “I know that you are doing your best to reverse this trend and I want to assure you that no effort will be spared in providing the necessary support you require to complete the task. We remain committed to ending the crisis in the North-East and making the entire area safe for all. I urge you all to keep up the good work.”
He said: “I am also painfully aware that some gallant officers and soldiers have paid the supreme price in the course of these anti-terrorist operations. While we remember them, I must also convey the deep gratitude of the government and people of Nigeria to the late soldiers and their families for their heroic sacrifices. Our thoughts and prayers are also with all other victims of Boko Haram’s atrocities and their families.”
He told them that: “As we approach the 2019 general elections, I want to urge all members of the Armed Forces to live up to their responsibilities and remain non-partisan.”
Speaking at the conference, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai said the conference was moved from Benin to Maiduguri because of recent happenings and because of the desire of the Commander-in-Chief to personally be with the soldiers to see them and to show that they were in his plan.
Our correspondent noted that all the major roads in the town were closed and motorists were diverted from the major highways as early as 7am, making many school pupils who were taking their examinations to get to school late.