Nigerian Army’s new Boko Haram war commander takes over

The former Theatre Commander of the counterinsurgency operation in Northeast Nigeria, Lucky Irabor, a major general, on Tuesday handed over the command of Lafiya Dole Counterinsurgency Operation Theater to his successor, Ibrahim Attahiru, also a major general.

Mr. Irabor, who is now to head of the Multinational Joint Task force in Chad, said at least 1,400 arrested members of the Boko Haram would soon be arraigned.

He said though more Boko Haram suspects were still being investigated, those proven to be real members of the outlawed group would soon be brought before the court.

He said arrangement was being fashioned out between the military and the federal ministry of justice on how the suspects would be arraigned.

“The investigation is on; in fact we have well over 1,400 of them that we have concluded investigations of which a large number of them had on their own, owned up that truly they are part and parcel of Boko Haram terrorists,” said Mr. Irabor.

“So now we have also commenced the process with the ministry of justice in doing the needful to ensure that adjudication process is commenced. That is the much I can tell you now,” he said.

On Boko Haram fighters that had surrendered and submitted themselves for de-radicalization, the former theater commander said the military and the government of Nigeria had achieved a greater success in that regard, even as he said there is still more to be done.

“The process of de-radicalization as it implies is a process that has to exhaustive; so it will be wrong to put a time frame to such process. And unless such process is concluded, reintegration cannot take place. But the assurance that I can give is that everything is on course.

“Depending on their level of indoctrination into the Boko Haram ideology, some are currently undergoing de-radicalization, some have gone beyond that level. So that where we are as it is now; but what I can assure is that let Nigerians hope be alive to the fact that But what I can assure Nigerians is that a lot is being achieved in that end,” he said.

On soldiers’ welfare, the outgone commander said though his officers and men “are not complaining” but he hopes the emoluments of soldiers in the frontline are improved.

“My self, the officers and soldiers are not complaining; even though we will appreciate if the allowances are increased. But if the journalists that are asking questions in that regard use their instrument of work to make that happen given the consideration that the revenue generation is optimized, that will be fine.”

Speaking after taking over the command, Mr. Attahiru, a former Director of Army Public Relations, said he would do his best to carry out from where his predecessor had stopped.

He said his main focus in trying to consolidate the gains made by the outgone commander would be to “rejig the formation of command and troops in the theatre and sustain the working relationship with the collaborative civil populace.

“We are going to rejig the troops in the theatre and build upon the successes of my predecessor,” he said.

“We are also going to review the concept of Operation Lafiya Dole and motivate the soldiers in the frontline. All stakeholders will be engaged along with the humanitarian partners in this endeavor.”


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