The Borno State-born Major General, who took over command of the nation’s army last week, said he was ready to lead soldiers to the dens and enclaves of the insurgents.
He, therefore, re-christened the operational code of the counter insurgency efforts from “Operation Zaman Lafiya” to “Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole” – which in Hausa means ‘the quest for peace becomes a must’.
Mr. Buratai, who was in neighbouring Yobe State to celebrate the Islamic eid-el-fitri festival with Nigerian troops, moved to Borno on Sunday afternoon. He arrived Maiduguri by road and was received by the Borno State Deputy Governor, Zannah Mustapha, who immediately accompanied the army boss to visit the 103 Battalion of the 7 Division, Maiduguri in Konduga Town where they met the troops and hailed their courage and gallantry.
In his address, the army chief called for general collaboration amongst the troops and other security agencies as well as the general public in curtailing activities of the Boko Haram.
He stressed that without the synergy of intelligence amongst all security forces, it would be difficult to defeat Boko Haram whose insurgency has caused the death of over 15,000 people since 2009.
“The ongoing activities of Boko Haram is assuming an alarming dimensions in Borno state and other parts of the north east,” he said. “We will not tolerate the killing of citizens and destruction of property; in as much as we urge you (troops) to adhere strictly to human rights abuses, the time to crush Hoko Haram and other criminal activities in this country is now or never.”
Mr. Buratai further told the soldiers that “as Chief of Army Staff, I will be actively involved in this ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole’ to end the madness of Boko Haram if I will have your collective maximum support and cooperation.
“My doors will always remain open to all of you for constructive criticism and advice towards restoration of peace in this part of the country.
“Therefore, we are here to identify with you and to officially inform you that as from today henceforth, we have changed our Operational Code from ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’ to ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole’.
Earlier in his address, the Deputy Governor thanked the Army Chief and the General Officers Commanding 7 and 3 Divisions for “taking their time to visit the state to see the gallant troops”.
He promised that “the state government will continue to support the military and other security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram that have sacked almost 22 local government areas of the state with thousands of people mostly villagers killed and millions displaced”.
Mr. Buratai later paid a courtesy visit to the of the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Elkanemi, where he informed the monarch about his new mission for the state.
“We will reinforce the security. The government is not happy about the insecurity in the northeast. It is our desire to have a responsible and professional army that is responsive in the discharge of its duty.
“We will need the support of the royal father and the people of Borno so that we will ensure peace returns here.
“Since Boko Haram terrorists have refused peace (Zaman Lafiya), we will now force them to accept peace,” he said.
“The peace that permeated Borno and transcended Lake Chad will soon return. My wish was to clear Konduga of Boko Haram vestige so that people can return home to rebuild their houses,” the army chief added.
In his response, the Shehu of Borno said, “Boko Haram was not initiated by Borno people but those who came to live from neighbouring states.
“Most of the people of Borno are either farmers or traders, very accommodating and receptive.”
He noted that “the challenges of managing the IDPs was enormous and nothing could be better than ending the security situation.”
He pledged to support the military in the discharge of its duties.
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