- Onaiyekan demands probe of military spending
By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo yesterday declared that the military has destroyed the backbone of Boko Haram terrorists.
This is coming as the Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, called for the probe of military spending in the North-east.
Onaiyekan specifically demanded investigation of funds deployed in the procurement of arms and payment of remuneration of soldiers in the battlefield.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, has also ordered soldiers to be decisive and relentless as they continue with clearance operations in Baga, Borno State, which was recently recaptured from insurgents.
Speaking at an interde-nominational church service for 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, the vice president said the military had destroyed the backbone of Boko Haram terrorists who once attacked Abuja, Kano and Kaduna with impunity.
“Today again we participate in an annual tradition of remembering and honouring our departed military heroes. This particular remembrance day is perhaps more poignant than any other. “In the past few weeks we have buried 13 soldiers and one officer and last week five air force pilots all these men died in battle fending off Boko Haram and Islamic State for West Africa Province terrorists in the North-east.
“In the past few years we have seen patriotism at its highest. Our valiant men and women of the armed forces have destroyed the backbone of Boko Haram who once attacked Abuja, Kano and Kaduna with impunity and hoisted their tattered flags over 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the North-east”, he said.
He noted that “today both Boko Haram and ISWAP operate as small even if deadly guerilla bands in parts of Borno State .
“But in these battles we have been sharply reminded that indeed ‘freedom is not free’. That peace is often paid for with blood and that no nation can secure its territory without the selflessness and the supreme sacrifices of many. And truly as someone said ‘Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it,” he added.
Osinbajo said peace and unity of the country was the best tribute to the nation’s fallen heroes.
In his message at the church service, Onaiyekan insisted that military spending in the war against insurgency in the North-east must be investigated “whether they died in combat, ambush or without arms”
“These must be investigated. Those who are responsible for what happened must be investigated no matter how highly placed. The blood of any Nigerian should not be wasted unnecessarily”, he said.
Citing a Christian scholar, St. Augustine, who postulated that the role of the military in any nation was to “put power behind good governance and justice” he urged Nigerian military to adopt that position by putting its power behind good governance and justice.
He also called for the payment of military pensioners in good time as well as taking care of the families of fallen soldiers.
On the forthcoming elections, he warned against what he described as “the instability of injustice and the futility of violence”.
“We cannot understand a war against indiscipline by locking people in dungeons and the same in the war against corruption by ignoring human rights”, he said.
Meanwhile, Buratai at the weekend ordered troops to be decisive in the ongoing clearance operations in Baga, Borno State.
Speaking through the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Benson Akinroluyo, the army chief ordered troops “to be relentless and decisive in combating the insurgents”, adding that, “no inch of Nigeria’s territory should be occupied by the terrorists”.
He also enjoined the troops to sustain the tempo of the operation and maintain a high morale to enable them consolidate on the successes so far made in the clearance operations.
Addressing the troops, who were in high spirit, Akinroluyo accompanied by the Commander, Nigerian Army Special Forces Command, Major General Moundhey Ali, told the troops that Buratai was particularly pleased with their recent victory over the insurgents and the operational successes in the general area of Baga and the