Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Nigerian military has recorded significant success over the Boko Haram and has paved the way for the return of displaced persons in the North-east to their homeland, the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division and Commander Sector 1, Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig. Gen. Bulama Biu has said.
Speaking at a social gathering organised to mark the 2018 Nigerian Army Social Activities (NASA), at Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, Biu said that the successful celebration of NASA in Maiduguri is an indication to the triumph of the military over the insurgents and restoration of peace to the area.
He claimed that the military had successfully restored normalcy and peace in Maiduguri and other parts of the region, compared to the chaotic situation bedevilling the area in the past.
He said the military had re-opened major highways and roads that were hitherto closed due to incessant insurgents’ attacks, even as thousands of people were rescued from the insurgents’ captivity.
He said: “Today’s occasion offers us unique opportunity to celebrate the prevailing peace in the North-east, particularly in Borno which by God’s grace, has been achieved through the doggedness and boldness of our troops and the stakeholders.
“Our officers and soldiers therefore deserve to celebrate their year of success over the terrorists having toiled tenaciously to keep the peace of the land through their sweat and blood with many paying the supreme sacrifice.
“There is no doubt that we have conducted many successful operations in 2018; we are determined to conduct more until Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal elements are completely purged out of our land.
“Through our successful operations, many roads hitherto closed due to the insurgents activities, have been reopened and secured to promote hinterland economy.
“Also, several people were rescued from captivity while many resettled back to their homes with adequate support for their farming activities.”
The army chief noted that the army, under its stability operations, had restored peace, essential services and provided humanitarian services to support the populace directly or through coordinated efforts with development organisations.
He promised that the army will intensify the campaign to clear remnants of the insurgents in the region.
On NASA, Biu said the event was designed to enable the army appraise its performances in the past one year, celebrate successes, and enable personnel and their families to partake in series of relaxation activities.
He said it also availed the army unique opportunity to promote mutual understanding with communities and other security organisations.
The Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who was represented by his deputy, Usman Durkwa, lauded the military over the successes recorded in the campaign against the terrorists.
He said: “In the past 10 years, our military, in conjunction with other security formations, contributed greatly in the fight against insurgency and other criminal activities in the North-east.
“They have had sleepless nights in their efforts to safeguard the lives and property of our people. This has been the result of the relative peace our communities are enjoying today.”
He pledged government’s support to the military to enable it discharge its mandate effectively.
In his speech, Maj.-Gen. Benson Akinroluyo, the head of the military counter-insurgency operation in the North-east (Operation Lafiya Dole), commended the efforts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and other security agencies in conjunction with the Army to bring the war to a successful end.
He reiterated the commitments of the military to ensure the total defeat of the insurgents and restoration of peace to the region.