The Nigerian Army Chief of Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratia, explained that the strenous efforts to wipe out remnants of Boko Haram in the North East is due to “vast nature of the region.”
Speaking to participants of Executive Course 38, on Tuesday, August 9, at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Kuru, Plateau, during the lecture titled: Responding to National Security Threats: The Nigerian Army Perspective, General Buratia confirmed Boko Haram stil exist in northeast region of the country.
“They still exist in the region, especially Borno, as the area is diverse and some cannot be easily accessed. The land is so vast, the North East is very, very vast; you never appreciate it until you fly over that area or even drive around.
“Those remote areas are so diverse and thick with very difficult terrain. Now that it is the rainy season, it is very difficult to move heavy equipment, heavy tracking vehicles into some of those areas. The best time is the dry season.”
The Army Chief explained that transfering the military command and control centre to Maiduguri is one of the major responses of President Muhammadu Buhari toward the national security threat, adding that decision to relocate along with other service chiefs to Maiduguri, Borno to take charge and direct the operation was partly responsible for the current victory over the terrorists.
“We (service chiefs) have not been in isolation. One has not been idle or kept himself out of the reality of the country as military officer, as a general, I kept track of what is going on.
“When I was appointed the chief of army, I said, this insurgency must stop, we must be responsive at all times, we should not wait and be reactive.
“I said our troops will never run away from these criminals – insurgents. We must hit them before they even come to us, not even to wait for them to attack and we repel, no. Immediately after my appointment, I moved to the North East.
“We (service chiefs) must be part of the troops. If you want to respond properly, you must be with the troops, you must be aware of their day to day challenges.
“If you stay far away, there is no way you will understand. That is why I say I must be in the forefront, I must always be with the troops and that has really paid off seriously in re-aligning the morale of the troops.
“That is why we are having the direction, purpose, and indeed the eventual victory that we are having from day one to this moment.”
He noted that collective effort was required in defeating the terrorists and acknowledged the roles being played by other arms of the security agencies, as well as the Civilian Joint Task Force.
The Army Chief also informed that insurgents fleeing to other parts of the country were being arrested daily with the help of members of the civilian joint task force.