Defence Headquarters (DHQ)
• Says military shake-up in order, attracts no extra cost
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that the latest senseless killings by the outlawed Boko Haram sect are desperate actions to get undeserved attention through acts of terror, and not related to the latest changes in the military commands and structure.
Speaking with THISDAY Saturday, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, debunked the views in some quarters to the effect that the latest upsurge in the insurgent attacks was as a result of massive changes and redeployment of senior officers within the military.
"Have you heard the terrorists giving any relationship between the changes and their recent attacks? Their activities should just be seen as consistent with the senseless desperation to get attention using the most horrendous means possible," Olukolade said.
Lately, insurgents had renewed deadly attacks on communities in the Northeast states of Borno and Adamawa, both of which are under emergency rule. Just last week, deadly attacks were launched on Konduga village in Borno State, killing 62. A mosque, markets and government buildings were targeted during the massive assault.
The gunmen reportedly returned to launch fresh attacks on the village two days later. Eyewitness accounts said the sect members had first attacked Mailari village, about 10km away from Konduga where they burnt houses, shops and sacked villagers.
The second attack, which began hours after the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Garbai Elkanemi, paid a visit to Konduga to commiserate with the people over Tuesday’s attack, were said to have been effectively repelled by a combined team of soldiers and the members of the youth vigilante known as Civilian-JTF.
A group of suspected members of the sect had also launched similar attacks on Wajirko, another Borno State village on Tuesday, killing four people, injuring about six and destroying 50 homes in the process.
The newly appointed service Chiefs in the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force effected comprehensive changes of personnel, including six new General Officers Commanding (GOCs), Brigade commanders and similar positions.
This prompted some security analysts and experts to attribute the latest attacks in some parts of the Northeast to the recent changes, with some even tying it to Boko Haram response to a statement credited to the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, to the effect that "Terrorism will end by April", which was however later clarified in context.
Similarly, some have also expressed concern that the constant tinkering with military commands and structure, including massive movement of personnel and equipment would inflict huge financial loss to the coffers of the country.
"As far as I can remember, the immediate past Service Chiefs did massive postings, appointments and redeployment barely a month ago, and now you are changing officers and personnel with their families," a source confided to THISDAY. "Don't you think this will come at a heavy cost to the military and the nation?"
All these allegations and fears, have however been doused by Olukolade who noted that postings and redeployment are routine exercises in the military with no known negative impact on the commands and structures, as well as the operational processes.
He advised that people should refrain from inputting ethno-religious or negative interpretations to what is a purely military affair.
Olubolade also noted that such changes come with no extra cost to the nation as the military has internal mechanism to adjust to such outcomes.
He said: "There is no extraordinary cost implication as the system has inbuilt capacity to adjust for changes as they become necessary. It is simply out of place for anyone to try to draw irrelevant parallels towards making insinuations on military postings.
"Every serious military personnel must be ever ready to move as duty demands. The families are equally attuned."