By Phineas Padio, Yola
Major General Nuhu Angbazo, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division, has dismissed claims making the rounds that military roadblocks across the North-East, were dismantled to pave the way for politicians to ferry firearms ahead of the 2019 general elections.
General Angbazo who was appointed GOC 3 Division penultimate week, cleared the air in Mubi, Adamawa State when he toured military formations under his command.
Mubi town was captured and renamed Madinatul-Islam in October 2014 by the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram. It was however librated two months after in the buildup to the 2015 elections, just about the same time of the GOC’s visit, in December, 2014.
There have been allegations by some junior ranking soldiers, who previously manned the roadblocks; claiming that the roadblocks were dismantled for political reasons. Some of those soldiers who expressed dismay at the order, have fingered a presidency cabal behind the move, alleging that the checkpoints were cleared for the movement of dangerous weapons.
However, another counter military source suggested that the dismantling of the roadblocks may not be unconnected with corrupt practices on the checkpoints.
“Several reports about soldiers collecting bribe was becoming too embarrassing for the army, and so the Chief of Army Staff ordered for the dismantling of the roadblocks”, he added.
Besides the junior officers’ allegation, some opposition groups in Adamawa state have expressed concern over the removal of the military from the highways at this time. They argued that removing military roadblocks at a time when Boko Haram seems to be resurging could be counter productive, especially leading into the election year.
The GOC however, maintained that the move was purely operational and tactical.
“It is part of the counter insurgency that is ongoing, it is based on the threat analysis that is coming in right now.
“The Army headquarters has conceptualized that concept which does not require us having roadblocks, because there’s a new approach right now for us to be able to counter the Boko Haram insurgency”, Gen. Angbazo assured.
Nigerian Pilot can confirm that all military roadblocks in six North-East States have been cleared, except those in Borno state, the home enclave of Boko Haram.
Nonetheless, our Correspondent who covered the GOC’s visit, reported sighting troops in military tents on flash points along the highway from Yola, the Adamawa state capital to Mubi.
While in Mubi, Gen. Angbazo was at the palace of the Emir of Mubi, Alh. Isa Abubakar Ahmadu, to strengthen military-civil relationship.
He assured the emir that troops will continue to uphold professional conduct, stressing that issues bothering on human rights were being strictly monitored from the high command.
The Emir on his part, expressed delight at the visit and the presence of the Army in Mubi, who; according to him, have continued to help sustain the tranquility that currently exist in the area.
The GOC had earlier briefed Governor Jibrilla Bindo on a guaranteed secure North-East throughout the political season.
Gen Angbazo was accompanied by Brig Gen Bello Muhammad, Commander 23 Brigade Yola and other Principal officers from 3 Div Headquarters in Jos, Plateau state.