The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has urged troops in the North-East not to relent in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents as the terrorists have been highly degraded and are expiring.
Mr Buratai, a lieutenant-general, described the recent sporadic skirmishes from the Boko Haram terrorists as a desperate effort from a highly degraded and expiring adversary striving to maintain its notoriety.
In a goodwill message to troops in the frontline in the North-East on Friday, the chief of army staff said also that the recent skirmishes from the terrorists should be seen as an attempt by the group “to portray itself as formidable and cohesive; something that is completely false.”
He, therefore, charged the troops not relent in their gallant efforts and draw back the hands of the clock.
“It is merely the last kicks of a dying horse. We have achieved great successes over the Boko Haram terrorists.
“Thus, absolute and conclusive victory is just inches away, he said.”
According to Mr Buratai, the Nigerian army is not known for cowardly behaviour.
”We have contained several incursions and several security challenges bedeviling our dear country within the last three years and now would not be an exception.”
He warned that any soldier that turned away in the face of enemy incursion would be appropriately sanctioned and made to face “Field Court Martial in accordance with our extant laws.”
Mr Buratai stressed that the consequences could be grave.
“Do not be complacent by being contented with repelling their attacks, instead, go after them, capture them, and when absolutely necessary, be decisive with the daring ones.
“Some women and children have been held captive, you are therefore to ensure that adequate rules of engagement are employed to extricate them before any offensive action,” the army chief said.
He assured the troops that as their chief of army staff, he had never relented in his pursuits of ensuring that their welfare was adequately catered for.
“To this end, I have directed that your allowances are paid regularly as and when due.
“I have also directed that troops’ rotation be carried out as scheduled. As soldiers in battle, I am aware of the effects of battle fatigue.
“Consequently, I have also directed that passes be issued to officers and soldiers that require same to visit their families.
“Recall that I approved the special promotion of more than 5000 troops for gallantry.
“Be rest assured that the process is continuous. Your kitting has also been improved drastically,” he added.
Mr Buratai recalled that special uniform allowance was paid a month ago directly into the troops’ individual accounts.
He said through the various intervention programmes to the army by the government, the stock of arms and ammunition had greatly improved.
He said recently, the army took delivery of large consignment of high calibre weapons and ammunition which were already being injected into the theatre.
“I, therefore, urge you to make use of them judiciously and ensure that they are effectively used against the terrorists and not taken away by them.”
Mr Buratai also noted that in a bid to swell their depleting ranks, the terrorists had continued with their false teachings and instilling fake ideologies in the youths of the North-East.
To curb this, he said, he had directed the Department of Civil Military Affairs in collaboration with the Department of Nigerian Army Chaplain/Imam Services “to immediately provide counter narratives through the community resilience and stabilisation campaign programme.”
“I have also established the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command to among others, prevent online terrorism, online radicalisation as well as online recruitment.
“To this end, do not let the false propaganda and narratives being spread by the rag-tagged terrorists sway your thoughts and actions about our dear country.
“We should continue to stand and fight even when the going gets tough and the ignorant and enemies of the state choose to castigate us,” he said.
The chief of army staff reminded the troops that many people had returned to their respective communities that were hitherto abandoned, but that the terrorists had taken advantage of the large population in the towns and villages to infiltrate them.
“You must, therefore, be extra vigilant and establish good civil military relations with the locals.
“You are to use this to acquire actionable intelligence to prevent any attack on the communities as well as your positions,” he said.
He thanked Nigerians from all walks of life for their support, prayers, encouragement and goodwill toward the Nigerian army in the service of “our fatherland.”
“I wish to also convey my appreciation to you all, the troops, for your selfless service toward the defence of our dear country.
“Your courage and gallant demonstration of our core values of sacrifice and selflessness amidst the daunting challenges being confronted daily in the theatre speak volumes of your professionalism and patriotism to the Nigerian State.
“I implore you to continue to uphold the trust the nation has placed on your noble shoulders for the maintenance of the sanctity of her territorial integrity. We must all remain steadfast.
“We must see this victory to a conclusive end.
“We must justify our oath of allegiance to our fatherland and dedication to her sovereignty.
“I once again salute your courage and wish you the best of successes out there,” Mr Buratai added.