“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle, it takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle” – Gen. H. Norman Schwazkpof
The Borno community Kaduna view with grave concern the uncharitable remarks and campaign of calumny orchestrated by traducers of nation building against the globally recognized several efforts and successes of the Nigerian Army under the able command of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen.Tukur Buratai.
Although the Chief of Army Staff is focused and cannot be distracted by those who seek to benefit from the actual distortion of facts and negative reportage of the security situation, we as a people from Borno, having witnessed the gradual return of peace in the state through the gallantry of the men of Nigerian Army and other security agencies, it would be a conspiracy to remain silent.
For the records, there is no nation in history that has overcome its security challenges in one swoop. Securing a large and complex ethnic nationality such as Nigeria requires the highest level of military tactics, professionalism, discipline, innovation, gallantry and bravery, of which the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has a reputation for.
Security is a process that requires the combine efforts of all security apparatus of the state, the Civil Society and the general public.
Prior to the coming of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai on July 13, 2015, no part of the country was spared from the deadly attacks of Boko Haram including bombing of a UN building in the FCT where over 20 people lost their lives. People worshipped in guarded and barricaded Churches and Mosques.
Road Blocks and Check Points were mounted at all the nooks and crannies of this country. Boko Haram held sway in the North East and firmly had 22 Local Government Areas under its control.
With the coming of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the much needed changes were introduced to the Nigerian Army. The COAS prioritized the welfare of the men of the Nigerian Army and ensured that all backlogs of allowances owed were cleared.
Speedy and expeditious payment of salaries and allowances as at when due became the standard practice. Purchase of additional modern weapons, arms and ammunition, regular provision of Military kits, thorough recruitment and training of the Nigerian Army. Promotion of 86,199 soldiers involved in the Operation Lafiya Dole.
These efforts began to yield positive results within six months that it didn’t escape the notice of the reputable Global Conflict Tracker (GCT) which stated that “after peak in Boko Haram related violence in 2014/2015, the number of casualties attributed to the group fell dramatically”
Early in 2016, Nigerian Army reclaimed the 22 Local Government Areas that were hitherto under the control of Boko Haram. In December 2016, Sambisa forest which used to be the stronghold of Boko Haram was taken over by the Nigerian Army, capturing 1,240 suspected associates and members of Boko Haram sects in the process.
Now a befitting Nigerian Army Shooting Range where troops go for arms training, firing and testing of long range Artillery and Armored guns named after Lt Col Abu Ali has since been constructed.
Hence, the focus of having successfully decimated Boko Haram and their activities have been restricted to pockets of attacks on soft targets.
It is also to the credit of the Chief of Army Staff the reorganization of the army structure to undertake the herculean tasks of modern guerrilla warfare which the terrorists have resorted to.
These feats earned him the “MILLENNIUM HERO” award by a coalition of over 80 Civil Society Organizations at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.
On April 25, he received the Brazilian Military Order of Merit Award, the highest honor by the Brazilian Military. He was the recipient of The Nigerian (an online newspaper) “Man of The Year” award at the Westminster, England.
Through all these numerous recognitions and awards too many to mention here, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai is not resting on his oars and will not let complacency dull his vision and determination to rid Nigeria of the numerous security challenges such as kidnapping, banditry, communal clashes and farmers – herders clashes.
In line with these emerging security challenges, Gen Buratai has initiated an effective Civil – Military Relations and established the Human Rights Desk in all Army Formations and Units across the country.
He launched the Operation Last Hold designed to further degrade the Boko Haram Targets and facilities and the relocation of IDPs back to their ancestral homes. Through this operation, over 5000 IDPs returned back to their respective communities.
10. The new strategy introduced by the COAS called Super Camp Concept is a noble one and has been described as one of the best war strategy ever introduced by the Nigerian Army because of the endemic advantages it offers over previous strategies.
It is aimed at ensuring flexibility of the troops, concentration of forces and resources, mobility and surprise which are key principles of war.
Above all, the Super Camp Concept affords the additional opportunity of force protection as troops are always on the move, on patrol and other lines of military offensive operations, thereby making it difficult for the enemy to accurately predict their location and possible/next line of action.
Gen. Buratai also introduced the motor bike brigade to enable the Nigerian Army make deeper incursions into difficult terrain to access the dens of the terrorists.
With the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that more needs to be done in the area of security by the service chiefs, the COAS has ordered all Commanders, General Officers Commanding, Field Commanders, all officers and men of the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts in implementing the charge by the President.
The COAS who is known for personally going into the battle field and leading troops at the war front, has called on all officers to lead the charge to flush out all criminal elements in the country.
The Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2020 has been relocated to Katsina State where a major army exercise code named Ex Sahel Sanity which has since commenced and is yielding very good results.
All these are geared towards ridding the region of the security threats such as kidnappings and banditry that are making life hard for the people.
Finally, in the light of the foregoing, the Borno Community wishes to express it profound support for the efforts so far by the COAS, and wish to call on all those whose only desire is to fan the embers of ethnicity, division and primordial sentiments to realize that such actions have grave consequences on our national cohesion and security and the much needed unity of purpose necessary to galvanize peace, security and development.
The Nigerian Army under the leadership of Gen. Buratai needs the support of all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, political leanings or region.
Capt. J. M. Liya (Rtd)President Borno Community Kaduna