Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:02 pm
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai has extolled officers and men of the Nigerian Army for the various successes recorded so far in safeguarding Nigeria’s territory.
The Army Chief made the commendation at the opening of the 2019 first quarter Chief of Army Staff Conference at Jaji in Kaduna State on Wednesday.
He however said in spite of the successes, the troops must think out of the box to keep the terrorists on the run.
Buratai said credible intelligence was necessary in meeting various security challenges in the country and directed commanders to work closely with locals, so as to decisively deal with terrorists, bandits and other criminal gangs.
“It is gratifying to note that the NA within the First Quarter 2019 has performed creditably well starting with the seizing of initiatives and turning the battle momentum against the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East.
“And rounding up with the professional manner with which the NA supported the civil authorities, as part of our constitutional role, to ensure the successful conduct of the 2019 General Elections.”
He added: “Despite reports of some alleged cases of infractions by some personnel, which are being investigated by a high level committee, I am elated with the encomiums and accolades showered on the NA for the high level of professionalism exhibited in the conduct of the elections. I say well done to each and every one of you.
“I must also acknowledge the resilience and doggedness of our troops in reversing the ugly trends that almost marred our concerted efforts in the North East,” Buratai said, noting that Boko Haram alliance with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) had been dealt with.
“That is why Operation YANCIN TAFKI was launched to effectively ensure the total destruction of the insurgents hibernating and operating from the ‘tumbuns’ with a view to crippling their ability and capability to wage any form of war.
“The operational successes recorded in this First Quarter 2019 in this fight have further underscored the NA’s resolve to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.”
On banditry and kidnapping in the North West and North Central Zones, Buratai said new strategies are being adopted to address the ugly trends.
“This has necessitated the launching of operation HARBIN KUNAMA III.
“The concept of this operation will require the combat arms as well as all combat support and combat support services working in synergy with other security agencies, the traditional institutions and other stakeholders to get rid of criminal elements.
“We must ensure information flow that will be converted into actionable and timely intelligence for troops to take proactive measures and to support and drive targeted operations.
“It is important that commanders in the field relate with the society and other security agencies in their efforts to bring the high rate of kidnapping, acts of banditry and attacks on villages leading to killings in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Katsina States to an end.
“There must be sustained synergy, cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders in these endeavours.”
The Army chief urged the media to be patriotic and stop glorifying terrorists and criminals in the country.
“I will seize this opportunity to caution the media and the general public not to glorify bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and ethnic militias to the extent that they are seen as stronger than the military and other security agencies.
“The criminals and bandits are only as strong as the society paints or view them and further propagated by the media.
“It is important to state that information and intelligence flows from the people and indeed from the press and the public.
“Such criminal activities are intelligence based and the people, are in this regard, to provide timely information and clear identifications of the perpetrators.
“Undue publicity and praise singing of the bandits and other criminal elements would only motivate them to commit more criminal acts at the detriment of the society.
“Therefore, the press, the general public, security analysts and public commentators are advised to show more maturity and due diligence in this collective effort of ridding the country of criminals and criminalities.”
He assured that the Army would continue to train its personnel and set up new operational units to meet emerging security challenges.
Buratai announced that “to ensure troops are no longer battle fatigued, I have directed that fresh troops be injected into the theatre of operations while overstayed personnel are gradually being de-inducted.”
He expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the massive support to the Army including training, logistics and welfare.
Buratai also paid tribute “to the gallant officers and soldiers, who in obedience to our constitution have made the supreme sacrifice in line of duty within the period under review.
“They have, as patriotic Nigerians fought bravely as demanded of them. My condolences go to their families.
“We will never forget them and we must ensure that the payment of their entitlements and the welfare of those they left behind remain priority. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace.”