Nigeria’s military chiefs were on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Military Command and Control Centre in Maiduguri, Borno State where they held a four-hour meeting with the commanders of the ongoing counter insurgency war in the country’s northeast.
The military officials who would be visiting Yobe state on Wednesday said the presidential directive did not imply they should completely move their offices to the north-east.
The spokesperson of the Defence Headquarters, John Enenche, who spoke with the press at the event gave some insight as to what the presidential directive entails.
“In operations like this, it is a normal thing to have the forward headquarters and then the main headquarters,” he said.
“The service chiefs are not only service chiefs to this area alone but service chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What that means is that more professional time would be given to the theatre. Here remains their ‘forward headquarters’ while the ‘main headquarters’ still remains so that they can run the entire armed forces on an equal basis.
“There are about 14 security operations across Nigeria and the service chiefs must still look at those operations. But more focus would be on the northeast.”
The security chiefs arrived Maiduguri late Tuesday morning to carry out the orders of the country’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, who marshalled them to relocate to the volatile sub-region in order to quell the resurgence of Boko Haram.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin led the other service chiefs to the MCCC.
The top soldiers were received by the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Attahiru Ibrahim, who later had a closed-door briefing with the visitors.
Journalists were excused out of the briefing hall shortly after the service chiefs arrived the Theatre Command headquarters.
The meeting which commenced at about 11.45 a.m. dragged on till about 4 p.m.
At the end of the meeting, all the service chiefs in attendance avoided contact with journalists.
Mr. Enenche, a major general, read a five-paragraph synopsis of the new strategies that the service chiefs resolved to introduce in order to salvage the worsening security situation in the northeast.
He said the service chiefs were in Maiduguri “in compliance with the recent presidential directives by the Acting President.”
He said the service chiefs brainstormed on the “received strategic direction and operational plans” which he said was expected to “give impetus to the military effort in the northeast operation.”
He said the service chiefs had in their overall appraisal observed the need for the members of the public to be more proactive in giving information to the military on any identified activities of Boko Haram.
He said some of the key information the military chiefs felt the troops need to succeed comprise: information on “terrorist sleeper cell, terrorist concentration areas and outpost location, collaborators and informants to the terrorists, suspicious habitation and living quarters within rural and urban centres, and suspicious isolated settlements and camps outside normal living quarters.”
Mr. Enenche told journalists that the recent 40-day ultimatum given by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, for the troop commanders in the northeast to fish out Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, still remained valid.
He didn’t, however, comment on what would happen if the commanders failed to arrest Mr. Shekau at the end of the ultimatum.
“We will still catch him even if the ultimatum expires,” Mr. Enenche said.
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