Boko Haram must be defeated, Buhari charges soldiers

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*Assures soldiers of improved entitlements and welfare
*Urges troops not be distracted by recent Boko Haram attacks

by Jennifer Omiloli

Worried by the recent resurgence of Boko Haram attacks in Borno state where scores of soldiers were massacred last week, President Muhammadu Buhari has told soldiers fighting the insurgents that the war is a must win.

He declared that his administration is prepared to do everything within its powers to support the troops in their final push against the insurgents with an assurance that efforts are being made to improve their entitlements and welfare.

Buhari spoke in Maiduguri, Borno state while delivering a keynote address at the 2018 edition of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS Annual Conference. He had canceled a private visit to Daura, his hometown in Katsina state, to attend the conference which was earlier scheduled to hold in Benin, the Edo state capital.

While acknowledging that the troops have been doing their best in the battlefield, the President encouraged them to “keep up the good work and shun distraction” saying “I must commend the leadership of the Nigerian Army in moving the venue of the conference to Maiduguri.”

“Our officers and soldiers who are fighting terrorism in the north-east deserve all the attention our country’s leadership can demonstrate to them, as president, I am determined to ensure that every citizen feels safe and secure in all parts of the country.

“I am of course aware that in the recent months and in the recent days, there have been some operational losses in the northern part of Borno state.

“I know that you are doing your best to reverse this trend and I want to assure you that no effort will be spared in providing the necessary support you require to complete the task. We remain committed to ending the crisis in the northeast and making the entire area safe for all. I urge you all to keep up the good work.

“It is a must win war. I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted but remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the surface of the earth.

“I want to assure you, that as your commander in chief, I will do everything within my power to continue empowering you by providing all the necessary equipment for you to prevail on the field.

“I also want you to be aware that I am currently looking at measures to improve your entitlements and welfare generally.

“I therefore wish to reiterate that leaders of all strata of our society including the armed forces must embrace the wind of change that is blowing across the country for good”, he declared.

In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari has convened a meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).
Buhari who convened the consultative meeting in his capacity as Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the LCBC said the meeting would hold on November 29 at N’Djamena, capital of Chad.

The president’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina said in a statement that the one-day meeting would review the security situation in the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency and adopt measures to enhance the capacity of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to meet the challenges of securing the areas.

It would also be recalled that the insurgents recently attacked military formations in Metele in Southern Borno leading to high casualty figures with reports that insurgents are taking advantage of the withdrawal of Chadian troops along its border with Nigeria.

“The presidents of the LCBC member countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Central African Republic have been invited to attend the meeting,” Adesina said adding that the president of Benin Republic, “a troop-contributing country, has also been invited to attend”.
“The MNJTF and the national operations of the affected countries have appreciably degraded the capacity of Boko Haram terrorists, although the insurgents still retain the capacity to attack isolated targets in the desperate search for supplies,” the statement added.

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