Service Chiefs Converge on Borno to Plot Boko Haram’s Defeat

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The Chief of Defence Staff, Maj.Gen. Lucky Irabor, yesterday led other service chiefs to pay their first operational visit to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the epicentre of insurgency in the country.

He was accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo.

Irabor and his team were received by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Farouq Yahaya; the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Abdul Khalifa, and other principal staff officers of the military command.

The CDS and his team were briefed by the military commanders on recent operations in the war against insurgency.

They also visited the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Garbai El-Kanemi.

Receiving the new military chiefs, Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, urged them to aggressively collaborate with militaries of neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger to smoke out the Boko Haram terrorist group.

He sought enhanced ties between the military and civilian population to bridge trust deficit and increase military’s access to credible intelligence gathering, saying this is key to success in the fight against insurgency.

He, however, assured the military chiefs of his administration’s commitment and support to the armed forces in routing Boko Haram.

He urged them to tolerate fair and constructive criticisms that might be made in good faith to enhance their productivity.

Zulum said: “In democratic settings, the military is an establishment, which is subject to constructive criticisms by well-meaning citizens. Therefore, you are expected to accept such criticisms in good faith with a view to enhancing the productivity in your operations.”

The governor said for the military to achieve success, there should be robust coordination and collaboration among the different security operatives, particularly between the army and the air force.

He called on the military to ensure a continued and sustained operation to deny insurgents breathing space by blocking all routes to stop the terrorists from moving from one region to another.

Earlier, Irabor had assured Zulum that military operations would receive a boost in order to defeat the insurgents.

He, however, craved the understanding of civilians in the fight against terrorism.

On the reason for the visit, he said after they were appointed last week and they concluded the handing over ceremonies, they need to visit the theatre of war.

“We felt as a collective that our first point of call should be Borno because of the cries, the emotion and the passion that have attended to security matters within the North-east, and indeed Borno, viz-a-viz the action of our officers and soldiers that we needed to give some focus,” he said.

Irabor added that after receiving detailed briefing from the theatre commander and the various components commanders, Nigerians will soon see the various changes that would be made to end the Boko Haram terror.