Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Shettima, Nigerian military in war of words

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafarhttps://dailynigerian.com/
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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The successfully launched military onslaught by Operation Lafiya Dole at the North-east has resulted in massive degrading of the Boko Haram terrorists particularly in Borno state.

The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, while rating the performance of the Nigerian military at a Town Hall meeting recently, reportedly attributed the success to a renewed effort by the military officers of Southern extraction.

Mr Shettima said he was disappointed to observe that the previous commanders, who are from the Southern states of Nigeria, did much better than the last occupants of the office who are from the North.

The governor singled out the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Rogers Nicholas, a major general who is a non-Muslim and of Igbo stock, for exhibiting leadership and professionalism in the fight against the Islamic extremists.

“Some of our greatest recent feats in the conflict were done by non-northerners and non-Muslims officers in the military. Most of the soldiers that sacrificed their lives are not of the Kanuri ethnic group,” he added.

However, in a swift reaction, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-ali, and other top senior military officers, expressed their dismay over the alleged claim by the governor, saying that many other officers could not be isolated from the success stories of the operation. 

Mr Dan-Ali said that Ibrahim Yusuf, a Major General and the present General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of the army as well as other senior officers from the Nigerian Air Force component have also played significant role to the successes.

The minister however said there was no doubt that the present troops and officers of Operation Lafiya Dole have successfully inflicted great damages to the insurgents and rooted them out of their hideouts in Sambisa forest.

Other officers who registered their dismay included a military intelligence officer who claimed anonymity and told PRNigeria that Mr Shettima’s comment was quite unprofessional and belittles his personality as Chief Security Officer of the state.

He emphasised that it was unfair for the governor to use such foul and unguided utterances against other officers that have risked their lives to protect people of the state from Boko Haram insurgency.

“We are utterly dismayed by the utterances of the governor against other officers from other part of the country. By claiming that the last six weeks outweighs what was accomplished in the last three years.

“The governor is invariably attacking the Chief of Army Chief, Tukur Buratai, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno who are also from Borno state, in their three years in the saddle and equally the Commander-in-Chief who put these people in the positions,” the officer alleged. 

Another visibly disturbed military officer said, “instead of the Governor to concentrate on the issues related to the town hall meeting, he decided to utilise his remarks by promoting sectional divide and bigotry amongst military men and soldiers fighting Boko Haram.

“We felt exasperated after hearing this insulting and provocative remark from a number-one citizen of a state who is also considered as one of the most active governors in this dispensation.

“He should note that the Nigerian military and security agencies have no religious sentiment, tribal and sectional affiliations,” he concluded.

It could be recalled that the immediate past Theatre Commander, Ibrahim Attahiru, had done a lot to be appreciated in the area of degrading the terrorists.

Mr Attahiru, during his hand-over, disclosed that he carried out a quick evaluation of the operational situation resulting in the elimination of five high profile Boko Haram Commanders and hundreds of terrorists.

He also carried out a crucial and swift clearance operations that neutralised, identified immediate threats posed by terrorists taking refuge in some remote areas within the Theatre.

The former theatre commander also established Fire Support Coordination Cell, FSCC, which were employed continuously to degrade the BHT in their enclaves and staging areas.

These FSCC carried out artillery and aerial bombardments in conjunction with the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE on isolated BHT enclaves killing several BHT and destroying their logistic base.

It is noteworthy that the creation of dugouts, done by Mr Attahiru, along BHT crossing points also denied the group freedom of action and stems the conduct of their nefarious activities.

Also, the inauguration of Mobile Strike Teams, MSTs, reinforced the Mobile Brigade Concept, MBC, while he also set up a Special Forces In-theatre Training Team, for retraining and refreshing troops on the fundamental concepts and skills of marksmanship, convoy and anti-ambush drills among others.  

Notably also, the none-kinetic operations conducted through coordinated media and information operations led to the surrender of over 100 Boko Haram Terrorists, who were immediately inducted into Operation SAFE CORRIDOR. 

Enhancing security on the Lake Chad, through continuous clearance of water weeds and patrol of the waterways facilitated by the Theatre Command, is also included as his success story was

This singular act resulted in lifting of ban on fishing activities in the Lake and the gradual restoration of economic activities thereby providing a lifeline and bringing succour to the indigenes.

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