Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has said that choosing Borno State for the 2018 Army Day celebration was borne out of total conviction that Boko Haram terrorists had been sufficiently degraded by the troops.
The army chief disclosed this, weekend, while briefing journalists on the week-long activities to mark this year’s Army Day with the theme ‘The Nigerian Army and National Security: A Panacea for Nigeria’s Economic Development’.
Buratai further pointed out that Borno was actually chosen for this years celebration basically to consolidate on the successes of the military in the last one year of the fight against the insurgents, and to let people know that the terrorists had been totally degraded, hence the peace being enjoyed in almost all the local governments of Borno.
“We have decided to hold the Army Day celebration here in Borno, so as to consolidate on the successes we have achieved in the fight against Boko Haram. It is also an indication that the insurgents have been degraded and there is absolute peace now unlike in the past. And with the total degradation of these insurgents, it’s time to ask the Boko Haram victims, who fled their homes years back, to return home and continue with their normal lives without any fear,” the army boss stated.
Throwing more light on the significance of the celebration, Buratai said it was a reminder of 30 months of Nigeria’s civil war that was first announced by a shot fired on July 6, 1967 at Garikem, in the present day Cross River State. According to him, a lot of soldiers paid the supreme price in the war fought to keep Nigeria one.
The three-star General described the activities of the Operation Last Hold as a humanitarian operation created to facilitate the return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their ancestral communities, so that they can resume their normal life.
“Operation Last Hold does not mean that the last presence of the military in these places for now; they will be on the ground until normalcy is fully returned before it can be disbanded. But Operation Lafiya Dole will remain operational,” he said.
He, however, called on all Nigerians to desist from any act capable of truncating the peace and unity that blind the nation. “We must learn to tolerate each other and give peace a chance. No nation can develop or be economically vibrant without peace.”