The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said that Boko Haram terrorists have been pushed out of all the north-eastern states save Borno State.
The army chief, one of the nation’s military commanders whom some Nigerians have called for their sack, said the troops are sharing intelligence to rout the insurgents out of Borno.
“There are no Boko Haram terrorists in neighbouring states. They have been pushed out, and now cornered in Borno State,” he said in a statement issued by presidential publicist, Garba Shehu.
“We are coordinating with civil and traditional authorities, mobilising and reinforcing and all we need is patience. We will not relent,” the statement quoted Mr Buratai as telling the president.
While Mr Buratai held this view, as recently as May this year, Boko Haram terrorists attacked Dapchi, a community in Yobe State. They had earlier attacked another Babangida community in the state in February.
President Buhari, on his part, told governors of the north-east region that his administration has not ceased to think about how to tackle the insecurity in the country.
The president added that in the wake of security challenges in the region, the administration is launching new combat strategies and acquiring modern military equipment.
“Security will be restored to Borno State, the north-east and the nation at large,” the president said.
“I assure you, the north-east governors, especially that of Borno, that we go to bed and wake up thinking about you, how to secure our country, that is the responsibility of every government.”
The president noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has made “scarce resources even scarcer,” thereby affecting the supply chain of military equipment and spare parts.
But he assured that modern military equipment is being acquired. Some, he said, have been purchased, while others are underway.
“Our government is doing its best on the question of equipment and the military know(s). We have equipment coming from some countries. The acquisition of military wares and spares is not easy, especially if you are not the manufacturer,” the presidency statement read.
Likewise, the north-east governors, who spoke through Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, said while the establishment of the North East Development Commission and the take-off of Mambilla Dam Power Project are laudable, the region has poor road networks.
“A large population in the region, especially in Borno State, have no access to their homes and farmlands,” Mr Zulum said while calling for efforts to curtail the “increasing trust deficit between the population and the armed forces.”
The meeting, which was held at the State House in Abuja, had in attendance the five north-eastern state governors, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Chief of Defence Staff, the service chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police and the heads of intelligence agencies.
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