Military Considers Easing Restrictions in North-east

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Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has disclosed that the Nigerian Army is considering easing some of the restrictions placed on human and vehicular movements in some parts of the North-east, as soldiers gain the upper hand in the battle against Boko Haram.

He said this at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Army, yesterday where he however added that military would uphold its restrictions on certain products such as petrol, and fertilizer because they are components of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).

Buratai, who as represented by the Director of Operations, Brig-Gen. Bassey Etuk, noted that the insurgents continue to use motorcycles to infiltrate communities, therefore the mode of transportation still has to be controlled.

“We need to control the movement of some of these products, fertilizer is a component used for IED and has to be controlled but with the degradation of the insurgents, the relaxation of some of the restrictions is possible…However, since we do not want the economic life of the people to be negatively affected, we will look into the Yobe State request of using fuel to power equipment,” he said.

Buratai however urged the committee to make formal requests on behalf of Yobe and Adamawa States.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Rima Shawulu (Taraba PDP) said it was necessary to ease some of the restrictions to avoid famine.

He proposed that the farmers be allowed access to petrol (in gallons) through their village heads.

The meeting was at the instance of a recent motion on the inability of farmers in Yobe State to access petrol to power generating plants used on their farms, and the inability of farmers in some parts of Adamawa State to access fertilizer due to restrictions orders by the Nigerian Army.