Certainly, most Nigerians are amazed by recent resurgence of erratic suicide bomb attacks and abductions in the north-east. The ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the country had almost screeched to a halt, with the Nigerian army launching clearance operations in the region to cleanse villages and communities of remnants of fleeing terrorists, before the enemies appeared in another style.
Nigerians are pained; the government is sad and the patience of the Nigerian military is overstretched by the criminals still furthering the nest of terrorism. It has led to military orders that exude with anger glaringly. Its about two weeks now, since the chief of army staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-terrorism campaigns in Nigeria, Tukur Yusufu Buratai, alongside other service chiefs relocated to Maiduguri, the hub of Boko Haram terrorism to confront the monsters.
This was in compliance with the directive of the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo following terrorists’ attack and abduction of geologists from University of Maiduguri, officials of NNPC and members of the civilian JTF who were on oil exploration mission in the Lake Chad Basin. The presidential directive was stern to the effect that the Nigerian military must halt the sporadic attacks on obscure targets by fleeing terrorists.
Osinbajo’s order came less than two weeks after Buratai ordered the Commander, theatre command of the operation Lafiya Dole, stationed in Maiduguri, major general Ibrahim Attahiru to capture the extremist Boko Haram sect’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, “dead or alive.” The latest order from the presidency, being executed with the haunting capture order on Shekau, it seems, has given fresh impetus to the Nigerian troops. It also hints of concerted efforts in planning and strategies for the total termination of the journey of Boko Haram insurgents and terrorism in Nigeria.
The constantly proactive leader of the counter-insurgency war, General Buratai swung into action as usual and with his trademark mien has started exploring new frontiers in the counter-insurgency operations in the last couple of days. He began by inspecting troops in the various military formations under the Operation Lafiya Dole to ascertain their combat readiness and preparedness for the fresh tasks ahead.
The army chief visited 25 task force brigade, 7 division Nigerian army, in Damboa and proceeded to Buni Yadi in Yobe state. And strikingly in Buni Yadi, Buratai personally monitored and participated in the training of troops of mobile strike teams being prepared for infusion into the operation Lafiya Dole to energize the clearance operations against the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast. Excitingly, he certified the troops as fit as a fiddle and in high spirits.
Therefore, Buratai’s fresh shadows in the north-east in the wake of the renewed presidential order etched three concerns in his memory. As part of this fresh mission, Buratai’s agenda included, but not restricted to silently studying issues around troops welfare to ensure they were comfortable enough to perform their professional assignments; he also boosted their morale by personally anchoring training sessions to impact his wealth of knowledge and experience to troops set for the final lethal blows on remnants of insurgents. He capped it all, by promoting deserving officers who had displayed exceptional outings against terrorists, to demonstrate to military personnel that he cherishes and generously rewards hard work.
The mood in the various camps of the military formations he visited were electrified by his presence. And the unuttered words from military personnel seemed to be the sworn determination, written on their faces which echoed loudly that; “the task of eliminating terrorism and the capture of Abubakar Shekau must be accomplished before the set of dawn.”
Furthermore, the army chief ordered the application of his rotation of troops principle. Military personnel who have overstayed in the theatre of war under the operation Lafiya Dole were de-inducted for both physical and psychological refreshment of troops for better performance. Fresh troops were being inducted simultaneously as those that had overstayed were also de-inducted from the theatre of operations, like soldiers of 29 battalion based in Port Harcourt. They were rotated and returned to their primary base.
Generally, there is renewed interest of security forces in the Northeast as the Nigerian military has deployed Special Forces to the area to reinforce existing troops and combat trainings have intensified to curtail the rampage of remnants of the Jihadist sect, Boko Haram insurgents. This is happening alongside increased supply of arms and ammunitions and surveillance devices by the Nigerian military.
In effect, for Boko Haram terrorists, the overwhelming military presence in the Northeast, coupled with an unflinching determination to successfully execute the last order is an indication of the final voyage of terrorists anywhere in Nigeria. Nigerian troops have proven records of success on such assignments.
However, despite the preparedness of the Nigerian military to unleash the final lethal blows on residues of terrorists, the success or otherwise of these last concerted operations also depend largely on the cooperation of the local population.
The Nigerian army has repeatedly appealed for support from the civil populace by means of divulging information about terrorists hideouts and renunciation of the idea of shielding fleeing terrorists from the binoculars of security agents. The time to heed this plea is now! The north-east region shall once again revert back to its greenish land and peace for the inhabitants only when they heed or comply with these simple creeds.
In fact, Buratai and indeed, the present clan of service chiefs have never failed on any assignment. And the present instance, as reflected in the agenda of totally eliminating terrorism in Nigeria will not be an exception. It is unthinkable that these courageous and brave soldiers would spend sleepless nights in trenches in the forests, jungles and caves without posting positive results.
Inside the minds of these military personnel, the resurgence of suicide bombings is an affront on their professionalism and combat competence. Certainly, it is a requiem for Shekau and the fragments of his foot soldiers. The sacrifices these soldiers have made for the liberation of their fatherland cannot go in vain.
– Odoma, president, Africa Arise for Change Network, writes from Abuja.