The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, says only Nigerians can determine when insurgency, terrorism and other security threats would be over in the country.
Mr Buratai stated this on Monday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja to give him updates on the national security situation.
Groups like the Islamic State’s West Africa Province and Boko Haram have terrorised the northern parts of the country for more than ten years.
Also, between 2019 and now, there has been a surge in kidnapping and banditry across the country.
Although President Muhammadu Buhari had on different occasions claimed that the nation had defeated the Boko Haram insurgency, reports of rampant killings in many parts of the country have proved him wrong.
On July 9, PREMIUM TIMES reported how 37 soldiers of the Nigeria Army Special Forces were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram members along Damboa-Maiduguri road.
Two weeks ago, the army chief had launched a military operation codenamed, Operation Sahel Sanity, to tackle banditry and other crimes in the northwestern states of Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger.
“I’m here to brief Mr President on the task he gave me and I have accomplished one aspect of the task and to brief him on our operations, especially operations Sahel Sanity in the northwest and of course the ongoing operations in northeast and other security issues, that pertains to the Nigerian army actually. I briefed him on the efforts going on in the northwest, we have seized the initiative,” he told journalists after the meeting.
According to him, the security situation in the northwest is under control as against what it was two months ago.
“We are working very hard and the troops are doing very well and I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far.
“Unlike the series of killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and of course the threats to prevent the people from going to their farms and farm this season, this has been removed with the presence of the number of troops in the northwest and they are carrying out surveillance operations, patrol to ensure that no one is molested if you go outside the community to farm or harvest,” the army chief said.
Asked if the army has the capacity to deliver by the task of ending insecurity, he said the security of the country is a task for everyone.
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” You know the military task is very clear, to defend our country from external aggression, our territorial integrity and to come to the aid of the civil authority of which we are doing.
“So, it is the same task that we should end or curtail or bring to the barest minimum the issue of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and insurgency and we have been doing it for a long time. We are essentially supporting the police to ensure that our country is safe.”
He added that when banditry, terrorism and other security threats will end, depends on the people.
“If Nigerians want it to end today, I can assure you it will end today if everybody joins hands because these bandits are not outside Nigeria, they are not from foreign land.”
He noted that 99 per cent of the terrorists are Nigerians, likewise 100 per cent of the kidnappers.
“So it’s not just a military, security agency’s task to end the insecurity in this country. It’s only when it goes bad that we are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that. Some of the insecurities are as old as history itself and it all depends on what you are doing to contain or defeat it at a particular time.”
Mr Buratai further stated that terrorism and insurgency may not come to an end but the important thing is that it is being contained.
Speaking on the challenges being faced while containing insurgency, he said that the fact that there are setbacks in military operations does not mean an inability to handle it.
“Like I said, if we want it to end, the totality of the people’s effort must be put into it to see that insecurity in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.”