The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai recently climbed the dreaded Gwoza hill in Borno State, an enclave notorious for habiting Boko Haram terrorists.
In a gesture that appears to be daring the terrorists in their hideout, as well as shoring up the people’s confidence in the military, Buratai climbed the hills in the symbolic defeat of the insurgents.
Buratai after climbing the hills assured the people of Gwoza that areas, where the insurgents hibernate, have been identified.
He vowed that the army will ramp up operations to clear them out.
This action by the Chief of Army Staff follows the outcry of Borno residents who believe Boko Haram insurgents are lurking around the mountain.
Gwoza was liberated from the hands of insurgents in March 2015 after serving as the caliphate of the insurgents for many months.
Nearly five years after, indigenes are still unable to settle down to their normal lives and livelihood with the fear that Boko Haram insurgents can fire missiles from behind the mountain into the town.
The Nigerian Army says it has resolved its age-long land dispute with residents of Serti in Gashaka local government area of Taraba State.
Speaking during the West African Social Activities Day on Friday in Taraba, Commanding Officer, 20 Model Battalion Serti, Sani Adamu, said the resolution was handled by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
At the same event, the traditional ruler of Gashaka Kingdom, Zubairu Hamman-Gabdo thanked Buratai “for his magnanimity” in resolving the dispute.
“I want to use this medium to inform the people of Gashaka that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai holds this community in high esteem,” Adamu said in his speech.
“And as such, the lingering problem that has been on for many years in this unit that was yet to be solved has just recently been solved with the permission granted by the Chief of Army Staff to let go of the encroached barrack land and for us to take possession of the compensated land that was given by the Gashaka Local Government Council in collaboration with the Gashaka Emirate Council.
“This information was sought just three days ago when I was with the Chief of Army Staff in Yola. And I find it necessary to put it on record on a day like this that we have both our royal fathers and also our mother in our presence. So to you people of Gashaka, I want to say a very big congratulations; and we thank you for your patience and understanding.”
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, says the Nigerian Army is consolidating on the gains of several years of intensive the fight against insurgency and tackle the security challenges confronting the nation.
He made the remarks on Saturday while commissioning some projects at the 23 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Gibson Halo Cantonment in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
Buratai, therefore, urged the troops to diligently uphold and perform their responsibilities of protecting the territorial integrity of the country.
He also challenged the troops in various theatres of operation to remain steadfast and continue to discharge their duties professionally.
The army chief commissioned three key projects which include an entrepreneurship and skills acquisition centre for women and youths in the barracks and host communities, the Accident and Emergency Unit at the Military Clinic, as well as a foundation laying of a perimeter fence in the barracks.
He applauded the 23 Brigade for establishing the Skills Acquisition Centre and other projects being commissioned.
Buratai said the projects were in line with his vision of repositioning the force for greater performance.
He affirmed that the army has continued to place premium on the welfare of its troops and their families, hence the intervention in such areas.
Buratai, however, urged the troops to redouble their efforts and rededicate themselves to service as they collectively defend the territorial integrity of the nation.
He was accompanied to the barrack by the General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Major General Nuhu Angbazo, and other senior army officers.
Governor Umaru Fintiri who was represented at the event by his deputy, Crowther Seth, commended the military in securing the state.
Major General Angbazo, on his part, believes the projects will enhance the welfare of the troops.
In his welcome address, the Commander of 23 Brigade, Brigadier General Sani Mohammed, spokes about some of the courses to be taken at the skills acquisition centre.
The transit accommodation is expected to assist in facilitating the general administration of large number of officers and soldiers coming to the North East, who use the cantonment as a transit camp.
Other dignitaries at the event included traditional and religious leaders, state government officials and politicians, as well as some of the students that would be admitted into the Skills acquisition centre.
President Muhammadu Buhari has praised the Nigerian Army for its efforts against insecurity across the country while pledging to improve personnel welfare for every military personnel and their families.
The President said this during an opening speech delivered at the Chief of Army Staff Conference in Kaduna on Tuesday.
“I am highly impressed with the conduct of operations that continue to flush out the terrorists from their enclaves,” President Buhari said. “I ask you to sustain these great efforts.”
However, he noted that his government was “aware of some of the challenges” particularly in the area of training, manpower, barracks infrastructure and healthcare for armed forces personnel and their families.
He stressed that the federal government is committed to the armed forces’ welfare.
“Let me again reiterate our government’s resolve to do everything within its constitutional power to ensure the security and safety of law-abiding citizens,” he said. “This is a commitment we have made and will continue to keep.”
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd); Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashil were all present during Buhari’s speech at the conference.
The conference is an end-of-the-year opportunity for the army to evaluate its activities for 2019 and develop strategies for its 2020 activities.
This year’s theme is “Application of the Cutting Edge of the Nigerian Army in Tackling Contemporary Security Challenges.”
In his speech, President Buhari also commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Gen. Tukur Buratai, “on his efforts to transform the Nigerian army.”
“He has keyed into the federal government’s change agenda,” Buhari said. “I particularly commend his thrust in the critical areas such as the innovative and inventive approach to produce military hardware, infrastructural development, restructuring and reorganisation, among others, with significant results.
“This government will continue to support the army to sustain these laudable initiatives aimed at repositioning you to deal with contemporary security challenges and to achieve a modern army of the future.”
In a statement by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, General Buratai expressed confidence in the peace process as an opportunity for the unrepentant bandits to lay down their arms and key into the peace process.
He used the opportunity to call on the bandits to hand over their weapons; otherwise, they will be faced with aggressive and offensive operations.
The Army chief who recently paid a visit to troops fighting bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and armed robbers in 1 Brigade Area of Responsibility charged them to decisively deal with unrepentant criminals.
The meeting held a day after Channels Television reported that at least 20 soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole were missing while the bodies of nine others were recovered in Gudumbali town.
The soldiers were said to have been ambushed by the insurgents at a Granda village, engaging them overnight from Monday until the early hours of Tuesday this week.
Despite the recent attacks in parts of the North-East, Buratai insisted that the insurgents were criminals and called for the support of Nigerians to wipe them from the region.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, read out the declaration of the army chief to waiting journalists at the end of the meeting.
He backed the new position of the army with the fact that the criminals “no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than the quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.”
Musa, however, said the force was worried about what he called the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the “erstwhile Boko Haram terrorist group” by some individuals.
The worrisome development, according to him, has further boosted the image of the criminal gang as referring to the criminals as Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria amounts to encouraging terrorism.
The army spokesman called on Nigerians not to glorify them by calling them by any name other than criminals, rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers, and murderers.
Read the full statement issued by Musa below:
The Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has noted with great concern the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the erstwhile Boko Haram terrorist group by some people.
This worrisome development has further boosted the image of the criminal gang thus assuming larger than life status. He made the plea while visiting troops in the North East.
He, therefore, pointed out that it is wrong for any person to eulogise or support murderers, bandits and armed robbers that the known Boko Haram terrorist group has turned into.
Consequently, referring to such gang of criminals, bandits, insurgents such as Boko Haram Terrorists Group, JAS or ISWAP in Nigeria could amount to supporting or encouraging terrorism.
The Chief of Army Staff said that it is also important to note that the mode of operation of these elements, is pure criminality for personal gains.
It is common knowledge that the criminals no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.
He pleaded that as peace loving people, Nigerians should not be glorifying these criminals by calling them by any name other than “criminals,” “rapists,” “kidnappers”, “armed robbers” and “murderers.”
Unfortunately, many Nigerians are not aware that giving prominence to the criminal activities of the terrorist group through sensational headlines and fake news in both electronic and print media could also amount to tacit support to terrorism which violates the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.
It is, therefore, important that all Nigerians rally round our gallant troops as they fight these criminals.
All should know that the support to the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the counter terrorism efforts would boost their morale and it will be highly appreciated.
The Nigerian Army is asking for the continued understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians and well-meaning people.
He further stated that all troops have been enjoined to henceforth go all out to deal decisively with these criminals.
They are nothing but bandits and armed robbers. Let’s support our military to ensure a secured Nigeria.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday celebrated the Eid-El-Kabir with recuperating troops at the 7 Division Medical Centre and Hospital Services, Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri.
He was represented at the event in Borno State by the Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Major General E. Udoh.
Buratai said the Nigerian Army had lived up to expectations and remains ahead of the threats bedeviling the country, despite some daunting challenges.
According to him, the Eid El-Kabir festival reminds the officers and soldiers of the significance of loyalty, obedience and sacrifice, even as it provides a unique opportunity for the personnel to reflect and redouble their efforts towards fulfilling their roles and justifying the confidence reposed in them by Nigerians.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, says the Nigerian Army is more determined in defeating the Boko Haram terrorists and other security challenges in parts of the country.
He gave the assurances during an interdenominational church service and Juma’at prayer organised to mark this year’s Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.
Speaking through the Brigade Commander 23 Armoured Brigade Major General Mohammed Gambo, Buratai said the Nigerian Army will continue to live up to their expectations regardless of the prevailing security challenges bedevilling the country.
“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate our determination to achieve more successes in our fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the land.
“Our efforts must not be relaxed until our mission of complete defeat of the insurgents and other criminals in the country is attained,” he said.
While recalling the theme for this year’s Army day celebration, ‘Professionally Responsive Soldiering: A Panacea for successful Military Operations,’ Buratai commended President Buhari and the National Assembly for their continuous support.
According to him, the Nigerian Army will continue to live up to their expectations regardless of the prevailing security challenges bedevilling the country.
The COAS also appealed to Nigerians to continue supporting the military in its efforts at tackling the security challenges of this country by providing useful information to law enforcement agencies in the country.
In attendance were the state governor, Umaru Fintiri, the heads of other security agencies and officers of the Brigade.
Other activities lined up to mark the Nigerian Army Day Celebration was cleaning exercise of the Jimeta market area in Yola by the soldiers.
The military also organised a medical outreach in Malkohi Village, a community hosting the IDPs in the Malkohi camp with residents turning up in their numbers to receive free medical attention.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has blamed the violence in Zamfara and other states in the north-west on aggrieved politicians who lost out in the recently conducted elections.
Buratai stated this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on the Army visited the Headquarters of the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“I want to believe and rightly so that what is going on in the northwest is a fall out of the just concluded general elections.
“There are several political interests; politicians in particular who lost in the election and because of their defeat, therefore they are trying to take revenge sponsoring some of those banditry activities and seeming conflicts between farmers and herders,” he stated.
The Army chief explained that strong evidence indicates that the attacks, including the kidnappings going on in the northwest, have political undertones.
According to him, the House Committee’s visit is an opportunity to call on the members to prevail on some of these politicians to look at national interest first before any other political or sectional interest.
“We have some strong evidence, but we are still being conscious, but the best thing is to advise these politicians who are aggrieved for no just cause and are inflicting serious injury and discomfort to individuals and the country,” he said.
Buratai’s claim comes nine days after the Nigerian Army banned the use of motorcycles in the north-western states of the country, due to the increased rate of kidnapping and banditry.
While announcing the ban in a statement, the Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said the affected states are Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger.
The Army explained that “armed bandits, criminals and kidnappers hibernate and all around where troops are conducting operations alongside other security agencies.”
The development follows ongoing military operations in the affected states code-named Exercise Harbin Kunama aimed at combating security challenges in the area.
The Nigerian Army has vowed to flush out the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east region of the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, stated this during on Tuesday when he declared open the 2019 First Quarterly Conference of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps in Jaji, Kaduna State.
He said the army would not spare any effort in ridding the region of insurgents as well as other related crimes in other parts of the country.