Some stakeholders from 17 local governments in Yobe State have applauded Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai and the nation’s military for restoring peace in the state.
The group, under the auspices of Yobe Progressive Association (YPA) consented that the troops have done extremely well in securing lives and properties in the state.
In a statement signed by its president, Hon. Mustapha Mohammed, on Saturday, the stakeholders said prevailing level of insecurity has improved as virtually all the LGAs are free from terrorists’ attacks.
According to the group, internal displaced persons have returned to their liberated communities and top government officials no longer flee the state for fear of attacks.
The group further saluted the efforts, personal sacrifices, inconveniences and sacrifices of the security chiefs and troops on the frontlines.
It, however, urged fellow Yobe natives to show solidarity with the military in its quest to rid other parts of the country of criminal elements.
The statement read: “We, the stakeholders in the 17 local governments of Yobe State have agreed to come out under a common banner to appreciate what the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai and the Nigerian military have done in securing lives and property in the state.
“Before the appointment of Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff, most of us are not able to visit our hometowns during to the then prevailing level of insecurity as virtually all the local government areas were under the siege of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists.
“The situation got so bad at a time that even the state capital, Damaturu, was no longer safe as the terrorists twice crushed the security barriers mounted against them and penetrated the state capital, gaining entry into the Government House.
“It was only by sheer luck and providence that the govenor and other top government officials were not around, otherwise the story would have been different.
“Life became unbearable for resident of major towns in the state like Potiskum, Geidam, Fika and Gashua while smaller communities became meat to the insurgents who attack, plunder and kill at will.
“The popular livestock market at Potiskum was destroyed by the terrorists while schools were being invaded and burnt down.
“Local governments areas like Potiskum, Fika, Geidam, Yunusari, Nguru, Tarmuwa, Jakusko and even the state capital, Damaturu, at different stages became frequent targets.
“The terrorists have killed thousands of people in several communities in these local governments while several communities have also been sacked with thousands of people sent out of their homes while taking refuge in other places as Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
“Bomb attacks on innocent citizens became rampant.
THE BURATAI DIFFERENCE
“It was with the appointment of Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff, that we started noticing some changes in both the tactics by the military and the reaction of the insurgents.
“Whereas in the past, the insurgents would hold entire communities hostage and wait to engage the military gun battle, we started seeing the insurgents fleeing at the sight of anything that has the appearance of troops.
“The bomb attacks and Randolph attacks on schools stopped and the state began to function as normal as people resume their normal businesses.
“Displaced persons in IDP camps returned to their liberated communities and the govenor and top government officials no longer fled the state capital but stayed to work for the people.
“All these have been made possible through the leadership style, personal participation and regular visit of the Chief of Army Staff to the theatre of war thereby boosting troops morale as he inculcates on the troop advanced and sophisticated strategies.
“The love Buratai has for Yobe is unmistakable.
“Yobe State for instance, is one of the states Buratai first visited after his appointment as chief of Army Staff.
“Buratai, who was appointed on Monday, July 13, 2015, but he visited Damaturu on Friday 17th and explained that he decided to visit Yobe State to boost the morale of troops fighting Boko Haram.
“Any time the morale of troops goes down in the course of operations, the Army Chief is always on hand to lend his support. He, for instance in July 2018 , visited Jilli, Yobe State and remained in the Theatre of Operations to assess the operational development when troops were attacked in Jilli, which is a border town between Borno and Yobe states with close access to Niger Republic.
“During the visit, Buratai said, “The attack in Jilli was very unfortunate but has been brought under control as our troops have since reoccupied the location and are exploiting ahead.
“In April this year, the Chief of Army Staff again personally visited wounded soldiers who were injured in action during a confrontation between Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters and gallant troops of Nigerian military at Gorgi, Borno state, near Goniri in Yobe State.
“This week also, The Chief of Army Staff, visited troops deployed to 27 Special Taskforce Brigade in Buniyadi, Yobe State asking them to pray for fallen soldiers.
“Buratai’s visit to the north-eastern state on Friday is to boost the morale of troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency where he also has a special Christmas luncheon with the troops.
“He told the troops that, “As we mark this year’s Christmas, I want to encourage you to always remember and pray for the souls of our gallant departed colleagues who paid the supreme price in the course of their duties.”
THANK YOU BURATAI AND THE MILITARY
“It is on this note that we the stakeholders in Yobe State saw the need to give credit to whom it is due, in this case it is to Lt.Gen Buratai and the military so as to encourage them to do more to achieve the little remaining to complete the good work started.
“We appreciate the efforts, the personal sacrifices, the inconveniences and sacrifices on our behalf.
“We know that some of the troops have left their families to be in the bushes just so that our lives would be secured.
“Some have been injured or maimed while some have been killed.
“We appreciate the fact that the Chief of Army Staff and the troops have despite all these not given up so we will continue to pray for them to succeed.
“We urge all sons of Yobe State all over the world to detach themselves from Boko Haram.
“They should strive to live free and meaningful lives as there is no gain in terrorism.
“The embarrassment the insurgency has caused us is enough and it is something we will continue to live with its consequences for a long time to come.
“It is time all Yobeans including Abubakar Shekau, who is from Yobe State, desist from such unfortunate engagement and return home. Thank you.”