By Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman
You are aware of the presidential directive during the decoration ceremony of the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs with their new badges of rank on 13th August 2015, to end the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the North Eastern part of our country in 3 months. It is in that regard, we are working round the clock to meet up with the deadline in total synergy and cooperation with other services and security agencies. It is also in line with keeping faith with the public that we are working with a renewed resolve to always keep you updated of our operations as well as other activities of the Nigerian Army. Therefore, the essence of this conference is in line with our determination to carry the people along in all our activities.
Our troops have recaptured Gomboru Ngala last Tuesday and are now consolidating, mopping up and preparing for the next offensive against the terrorists. At this point, I would like to acknowledge the commendable role the Nigerian Air Force plays in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in our great nation along with sister service and other security agencies.
It is on record that we have a very close cooperation and coordination of military offensive against the terrorists between the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Army. Officers and airmen of the Nigerian Air Force in the North East have conducted themselves creditably and professionally to the admiration of the Nigerian Army.
The bombardment of identified Boko Haram terrorists location, close air support, air surveillance and interdiction by the Nigerian Air Force have enhanced our operational efficiency and success. The Nigerian Air Force were equally involved in the supplies of essential items, casualty evacuation, equipment and weaponry delivery in OP LAFIYA DOLE.
One will recall with gratitude how the Nigerian Air Force helped in the extriction and lifting of our T72 tank when it was bogged down by Improvise Explosive Devices at Logomari, Borno State. They have provided water and airlift of other logistics to the war front in addition to their primary role of air reconnaissance and air support. The collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force is also a force multiplier as troops are confident that they would receive quick medical attention in case any soldier needed such evacuation.
Let me also seize this opportunity to appreciate all Nigerians for their overwhelming moral support, prayers and understanding as we wither through the storm of the fight against these criminal elements that goes by the appellation of Boko Haram terrorists in our country. In particular, we would like to most sincerely thank all those patriotic and peace loving people that helped with information about the movement of the terrorists, their Improvised Explosive Devices making factories and supply routes. I am glad to inform you ladies and gentlemen, that the invaluable information provided has made us to act responsively and professionally that made the terrorists to be on the run. It is equally gratifying to say that most of the terrorist group leadership has been decimated, while the foot soldiers are abandoning their masters, burying their weapons in the forest and seeking solace. Such intervention have cut the terrorists supply routes making them dejected, hungry with no capability to launch any deadly attack.
The Nigerian Army some time ago instituted a committee to review the recent disciplinary cases in the service especially of those soldiers in the defunct OP ZAMAN LAFIYA. The aim of which was to ensure discipline, regimentation and justice in the system. The Committee has concluded its sitting last week and has made certain recommendation that led to the reinstatement of 3,032 soldiers into the Nigerian Army out of 5,000 cases that were reviewed. The reinstated soldiers have shown their total readiness to be re-launched into theatre to combat insurgency and have now commenced a re-training exercise at the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kontagora, Niger State. This training is to re-orient the affected soldiers and prepare them for this closing stage of the operational aspect of the counter insurgency operations with more weapons and new leadership. It must however, be made clear that not all the dismissed soldiers were granted pardon and recalled. Those with criminal cases for instance, have their sentences upheld.
The President, Commander-in-Chief has approved the award of Nigerian Army Medal (NAM) to the Chief of Defence Staff, General GA Olonisakin and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai. Similarly, the new Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) Brigadier General ASH Sa’ad has been honoured with the Republic of Mali Award of Mali Knight of National Order for his exceptional conduct while he served as Nigerian Military Attache in that country. The Chief of Army Staff had congratulated him for doing the nation proud. In a related development, Lagos State Government is also honouring some officers and soldiers of 19 Battalion for their role that led to the bursting of a notorious robbery gang that terrorized the State.
The Nigerian Army is quite aware of the misunderstanding between some misguided soldiers and the general public. I want to state here that we are striving hard to improve our relationship with public and we would not tolerate any act of indiscipline or misconduct from our troops. Therefore, I want to assure the public that in line with our procedures, we are taking appropriate measures to prevent such happenings and sanction all those involved.
We would like to reassure the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed the good people of our great nation that we would definitely meet up with the 3-month deadline and do the nation proud.
We would also like to commend the tremendous sacrifice and gallantry of our troops in the various theatres of operations and assure them that the leadership of the Nigerian Army is solidly behind them and doing all it could to enhance their welfare, performance and general well being. As a matter of fact, as usual, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General TY Buratai would be visiting them in the frontline very soon.
The Nigerian Army monthly route march for the month of September will take place on Friday, 4th September 2015 across formations and units of the Nigerian Army all over the country. In Abuja, the exercise will kick start by 05:30 am. The exercise which will start at the Guards Brigade Sports Complex, Aguiyi Ironsi Cantonment, will be conducted along the Murtala Mohammed Expressway – Niger Barracks to 7 Guards Battalion, Lungi Barracks and then back to the starting point through the same route.
In Abuja, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, will lead the Principal Staff Officers, senior officers and soldiers for the exercise. The monthly route march is part of COAS effort to sharpen the responsiveness of troops of the Nigerian Army through restoration of regimental activities. The public is advised not to panic on sighting heavy presence of troops on the mentioned route.
Let me reiterate our unalloyed loyalty to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and thank him for his continued support to the Nigerian Army in its resolve to free the country from the menace of insurgency.
*This is a text of news briefing by Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, acting Director Army Public Relations at the Army Headquarters, Abuja on Thursday 3rd September 2015
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