Nigeria: Buhari to Military - Don't Give Breathing Space to Terrorists

Maiduguri, Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the military and security agencies not to give breathing space to terrorists and criminals in various parts of the country.

President Buhari gave the charge Thursday during an official visit to personnel of the Armed Forces and security agencies in Operation HADIN KAI at the Maimalari Cantonment, in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The president said the war must be concluded with restoration of peace and reconstruction of all the affected areas.

Buhari, who said the nation owes a debt of gratitude to military men and women, and security agencies currently tackling security challenges in the country, particularly the many who paid the supreme price, assured family members that the government will continue to support all the loved ones.

The president, in a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu, said wounded comrades will get the best medical attention towards their full recovery.

"While acknowledging your collective efforts at decimating and degrading the terrorists and reaffirming the inviolable sovereignty of our nation, I also wish to extol your steadfastness and untiring efforts in the face of the difficulties you experience in the Theatres of Operation.

"Your collective efforts have resulted in the relative peace being enjoyed in the region today. Under my watch, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have been provided a firm strategy and clear sense of direction to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.

"We should not allow our adversaries the opportunity or breathing space to challenge or undermine our national interests and core values. The defence and security agencies should rest assured of the federal government's unalloyed commitment to winning the battle against terror and criminality," he added.

President Buhari commended the military and security agencies for the synergy that translated into successes in restoring peace and order.

President Buhari assured that his administration is developing a strategy for post-war reconstruction and peacebuilding side by side with the efforts of the Armed Forces and security agencies.

The president said several interventions by the federal government had led to the procurement and delivery of large consignments of critical combat enablers, including high calibre weapons and ammunition.

"Many have been injected into the Theatre and soon other equipment that have just arrived in the country would also be deployed to the Theatre of operations. Much more equipment will be procured for the Armed Forces to cater for both the short and long-term requirements."

"In addition, your welfare is of utmost importance and concern to this government. I am glad that the gradual rotation of the troops in the field has commenced, as I directed. I am sure that this will minimize and possibly eliminate battle fatigue, as well as enhance troops' morale.

"You must therefore remain steadfast and see this war to a conclusive end. In doing so, you must rely on inter-agency cooperation, and strengthen your cohesion with the troops of neighbouring Republics of Cameroon, Chad and Niger in our collective fight against the terrorists, under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force. This will consolidate our efforts and facilitate the speedy return of peace and stability to the region," the president said.

President Buhari, who also interacted with some of the wounded soldiers assured them that the government was fully committed to their recovery and welfare.

In his remarks, the Commander of Theatre Operations HADIN KAI, Maj Gen. Felix Omoigui, assured troops of the President's confidence and commitment to their welfare, especially in bringing the war to a conclusive end.

Governors of Borno and Yobe State, Babagana Zulum and Mai Bunu, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Leo Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao and National Security Adviser, Maj Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), were also at the event.

In his remarks, Governor Zulum thanked the president for the relative peace enjoyed in the state, buoyed by the heavy presence of military and security men who have been engaging the terrorists.

Speaking at the Palace of the Shehu of Borno, President Buhari said all efforts will be made to improve the livelihood of Nigerians, starting with providing adequate security.

The President commended the Governor of Borno State for his forthrightness, resilience and drive in bringing development to the state, despite security challenges.

Earlier, President Buhari alongside Borno State Governor and Yobe State Governor commissioned the Government Technical Secondary School, Njimtilo and the Senate Building of the Borno State University.

He also commissioned Vocational Training Institute, Muna, describing it as "a very dynamic answer to skills acquisition and job creation efforts" with potentials of drastically reducing youth unemployment in Borno to make economic induced recruitment harder for terrorists.

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