The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Monday said that no fewer than 30,000 women and children have been rescued from Boko Haram insurgents by the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in Sambisa Forest in the last two years.
Speaking during a town hall meeting for the military and security agencies in Maiduguri, Mr. Dan-Ali said that the Nigerian military had recorded remarkable success in degrading Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east.
“It is pertinent to state that the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and its Air Force component inflicted heavy casualty on the Boko Haram during the recent Operation Deep Punch II in Sambisa forest,” he said.
Mr. Dan-Ali said that the fighting troops were ever ready to confront Boko Haram, adding that no Nigerian territory was under the control of the insurgents.
He said that the troops had recently destroyed Shilka of Boko Haram terrorists and recovered many arms and ammunition and bomb making factory in their enclaves.
He further said that the air component of the operation had also bombed many Boko Haram camps and hideouts thereby destroying their bomb artillery.
The minister attributed these successes to the political will and commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that regular visits to troops in the frontline by the Minister of Defence and the Service Chiefs have also served as a morale booster.
He explained that the ministry had also ensured timely disbursement of the troops’ allowances while those who overstayed in the battle field were rotated.
The minister said that fighting troops at the battle field were promoted in recognition of their selfless service.
He said that the ministry had earmarked some funds for the construction and renovation of military accommodation in the six geo-political zones of the country.
“Plans are on the way for the construction of 20 blocks of barracks accommodation under the ministry to ease the problem of accommodation of personnel in Abuja.
“Recently, the army also took in six newly acquired mine caterpillar used to demobilise explosives which had really eased their operations.
Also, the Governor of Borno, Kashim Shettima, on Monday commended the Nigerian military for the successes recorded so far in the war against Boko Haram.
The commendation comes amid latest claims by the military authorities that the insurgency has been total crushed.
Boko Haram, which is seeking the enthronement of a strict Islamic code in Nigeria, launched its deadly insurgency in 2009, killing thousands of people and leaving the economy of Nigeria’s northeast in ruins.
Mr. Shettima, who was also speaking in Maiduguri at the inauguration of a special town hall meeting for military and security agencies in the northeast, hailed the military for demonstrating high patriotism and professionalism.
He said that the military made huge sacrifices to facilitate the restoration of peace and security in the northeast.
Mr. Shettima noted that the military had successfully defeated and over-ran the insurgents in the past few weeks.
He said that the military had through its counter-insurgency campaign, facilitated a return to normalcy and the resurgence of social and economic development in the northeast.
“In the past three years, Boko Haram insurgents took over 20 Local Government Areas of Borno State. Maiduguri faced serious threats. We were in a state of siege.
“Thousands of people were killed, maimed and displaced, due to the insurgency.
“The ugly situation changed for the better because of the hard work and commitment of our gallant troops,’’ he stated.
According to him, Boko Haram, having been decimated, resorted to suicide bombing, targeting soft targets, “a clear sign of cowardice and weakness on their part”.
The governor noted that the successes recorded in the war against the insurgents were made under military commanders of southern Nigeria extraction.
Mr. Shettima called on Nigerians to complement the efforts of the military in the restoration of peace by living harmoniously, irrespective of ethnic or religious differences.
He also lauded the federal government for its efforts in ending the war as well as its initiative in addressing the humanitarian crisis caused by the insurgency.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said that the meeting was designed to enable the government to interact with the populace.
Mr. Mohammed said that the federal government accorded priority to ending the insurgency and boosting security in the country.
He commended the troops for their gallantry and for defeating the terrorists.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, as well as the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, were also at the meeting.
Also in attendance were members of some states houses of assemblies, emirs and developments organisations, drawn from six states.