From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Lucky Irabor has assured that he and other newly appointed military heads will inject new leaf into the counter-insurgency operation and other military operations across the country.
Irabor gave the assurance, yesterday, in Maiduguri, during a visit to the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum by the new service chiefs.
The new chief of defence staff and the Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao and the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo were inpaid their first operational visit to the Theatre Command in Maiduguri, yesterday, where they met with the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Chiefs of Training and Operations from the Defence Headquarters, Army, Navy, Air Force and other field commanders, to review recent operations in the theatre.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Irabor said the new military hierarchy was aware of the “inflamed passion” and cries of Nigerians over the insecurity in the country. He said the cries of the people were premised on lack of peace in many parts of the country
“I, on behalf of the service chiefs, pledge that there will be a new leaf in making sure that our operation receive a boost though that does not mean before there was no boost,” he said.
He said peace and security were responsibility of everybody even as he assured that the military leadership would engage other stakeholders in the process of internal and territorial security of the nation.
He thanked the Borno State governor for his criticism and appreciation of military operation, especially, on the war against Boko Haram in the state and northeast.
In an interaction work newsmen later, he said the military did not rescue any Chibok girls recently as widely speculated by some national and international media.
“What we know is that we do not have any Chibok girls with us,” he disclosed.
Borno Govenor, Babagana Zulum, urged the military to take any constructive criticism in good faith.
“In a democratic setting, the military is an established system which is subject to constructive criticisms by well-meaning citizens and therefore, you should accept such a constructive criticism in good faith, with a view to enhancing productivity in your operations,” he said.
He asked the service chiefs to collaborate, stressing that success against insurgency and other security challenges cannot be achieved without effective cooperation and synergy among the military leadership.
Meanwhile, Northern governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have charged the newly appointed service chiefs to work hard to end the various security challenges facing the country.
Kano State Governor, Abadullai Ganduje, while addressing newsmen, at the weekend, when they visited President Muhammadu Buhari in his private residence in Daura, Katsina State, said the news service chiefs “have to work closely with state governors, who know what the people needed most, and the black spots in their domains, to resolve the security challenges in the country.”
Gombe State Governor, Muhammad Yahaya, also speaking on his expectations from the new Service Chiefs said: “I will ask them to work hard, harder than what Mr. President might have assumed they would do because the task ahead is very challenging and I believe they will live up to expectations.”
Jigawa governor on his part said:”I think they have to listen to people in transfer of intelligence and continue to ask people to pray for them.”
FG backs claim of improved security with facts, figures
The Minister of Information and Culture has given facts and figures to support his position that security situation in Nigeria has improved better than what it was in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over.
Ahlaji Lai Mohammed, at a media briefing, recently, in Abuja, said that while there were challenges, the country had recorded progress and the security situation “is by far better than what we met in 2015’’.
“From 2010 to 2014, we did not have peaceful Christmas and New Year, it is only since we came that we have been celebrating these peacefully.
“Prior to 2015, worshippers were screened before attending Jumat and Church services. But this is not happening now,” he said.
Reeling out figures to back his position, the minister said on December 25, 2010, no fewer than 80 people were killed on Christmas eve by bomb attacks on Churches around Jos in Plateau.
“December 25, 2011, bomb attacks were reported across the country especially the one at Catholic Church in Madalla near Abuja that killed about 37 people and injured 57.
“On Christmas day 2012, Church of Christ in Nation’s was attacked and burnt down in Yobe by Boko Haram, killing, at least, six people.
“On Easter Sunday April 8, 2012, there was bomb explosion in a Church in Kaduna killing at least 36 people, injuring 13 persons.
“In Kano in 2012 about 162 people were killed during the crisis on fuel price increase.
“Also in Kano on April 29, 2013, a total of 13 people were killed when gunmen opened fire in a lecture theatre in the University in Kano,” he said.