Defence Minister, Muhammad Dan-Ali, has assured Nigerian troops stationed in the troubled North-Eastern region, fighting insurgency, of government’s commitment to provide the needed logistics to facilitate the speedy end to insurgency in the country.
The minister gave the assurance at a Christmas lunch organised for troops locked in battle with Boko Haram, in Damaturu.
While urging the troop to remain steadfast, Mr. Dan-Ali, acknowledged some of the challenges facing the operations and noted that most of the challenges were being addressed.
“While your welfare needs are being addressed, I urge you to continue to adhere to all the rules of engagement in your operations,” he said.
But he urged them to respect the rights of people in your host communities as “all your actions and inactions will be accounted for.”
Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, commended the troops for their sacrifices.
He said their contributions in the defeat of terrorism would not be forgotten in a hurry.
Olonisakin, however, urged the troops not to relent in their efforts to effectively end the insurgency.
He said: “we are gradually moving into 2016, therefore, we must not rest on our oars to win the war.
“As we move into 2016 I want to enjoin you to be more determined to reclaim all lost territories, that is the charge and demand on all of you as we enter the New Year.
“On our part we will do our best to ensure that all logistics and welfare required to prosecute the war to a logical conclusion were provided,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, said the visit of the defence minister would boost the morale of troops in the ongoing operation.
He noted that the situation in the troubled region has improved tremendously and attributed the feat to the sacrifices of the troops.
“The security situation has greatly improved and I want to congratulate the troops for a job well done.
“We are entering the New Year and I believe that we will start winding down to conclude the operation,’’ he said.
Yobe Deputy Governor Abubakar Aliyu confirmed that the security situation had indeed improved in the state.
He said unlike the previous festivities since the insurgency started, residents were able to celebrate the yuletide without fear of any attack from the insurgents.
The event, held at Army Headquarters Logistic Base in Damaturu, was attended distinguished guests who served the soldiers with various delicacies
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadiq yesterday paid a similar morale boosting visit to troops in Yola,Adamawa where he enjoined men of the 5 Strike Group Battalion of the Air Force have been enjoined not to relent in their fight against insurgency even during this festive period.
Air Marshall Sadiq commended the officers and men of the battalion for their efforts in curtailing terrorism in the north-east, especially in providing logistics support in the operations.
“The purpose of my visit to Yola is first and foremost to convey President Muhammadu Buhari’s greetings to our pilots and technicians who have been doing an excellent job in the north-east to deal with the internal security of insurgency problem we are having here in the north-east.
“The honourable Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff are in Damaturu, I was with them yesterday (Friday) in Maiduguri while they were with the troops in Damaturu, I am here (in Yola) to convey the greetings of Mr President to our pilots and technicians and to also have the opportunity to also celebrate the Christmas with them.
“In the past, you would find the terrorists moving in 15, 20 Hilux vehicles attacking one village after the other. I’m sure you haven’t heard of that since the directive was given.
“The terrorists are now more or less suicide bombers because they can’t really move in large numbers to occupy our territory and kill our people.
“I think, to a large extent, we have substantially degraded their capacity and have been able to meet the deadline. What we are doing now, is just to improve what we have been able to achieve,” the Air Chief said.