Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Outgoing Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen Benson Akinroluyo, said the counter-insurgency operation against Boko Haram in the North East was getting better despite recent attacks.
Akinroluyo while speaking at the weekend in Maiduguri at the valedictory launch organised for him by the theatre to signal his deployment out of the operation, said the security situation was in the area was in a dire state when he took over as the commander in November 2018.
“The Melete attack had just occurred when I came and there were equally some other attacks by the terrorists in Borno State. The situation was very bad then but we thank God we were able to stabilise the security situation in the theatre under my watch,” he stated.
He recounted some of the difficult moments including a few attacks on military base by the insurgents. He attributed the victories recorded by the military in the theatre to divine support.
He however asked Nigerians to step up support for the military troops in the front line. He said the war against Boko Haram was not a military affair alone but that of all Nigerians. He said the military requires more cooperation and collaboration by the people in the area to end the security challenge.
He said he was leaving the theatre with more hope that his successor would take the battle against the insurgents hotter than he did having served for a long time in the area both as brigade commander and his deputy at the theatre.
He said Borno occupies a greater part of the story of his military career having got his promotion as a major in Maiduguri some 30 years ago and was also decorated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai when he was promoted a Major General.
“I left here as a major and I came back to add general and now I am leaving for another military assignment,” he said. He thanked the army chief for the opportunity given to him to serve as the seventh theatre commander.
His successor, Maj Gen Olusegun Adeniyi reiterated his commitment to making the counter-insurgency operation tougher and hotter. “As I have said, we shall turn the heat on Boko Haram,” he vowed.