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Buhari has overcome Boko Haram insurgency, says Buratai

Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the former Chief of Army Staff has said that president Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled the promise made in his inaugural address on May 29, 2015, of subduing Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.

Buratai, who addressed the newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, explained that it was wrong to think victory over Boko Haram meant cessation of hostilities, saying cessation of hostilities would happen only when the groups agree to forsake their ideology, embrace democracy, respect constitution and embrace peace.

He said the President had come with clear-cut strategies to subdue the terrorists and restore peace to Northeast and others.

The former Army chief noted that Buhari had said “the military command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is subdued”.

He added: “I say this with every sense of responsibility that the administration has subdued Boko Haram and terrorism.

“As his premier Army chief, and the longest that served him, I think I owe it a duty to Nigerians and the world to say it as it is.”

Buratai said the President came prepared with the right information about the root causes of insurgency and terrorism, while noting that Boko Haram insurgency was allowed to manifest before 2015 by official bungling, negligence, complacency and collusion, adding that this made Boko Haram became a terrifying force, taking lives and capturing towns and villages.

“This is the true summary of Boko Haram insurrection.

“The murder of Muhammad Yusuf by the police was clearly extrajudicial. Negligence, complacency and collusion with proponents and leaders of Boko Haram for selfish reasons caused insurgency to degenerate into a full-blown nightmare,” he added.

Buratai recalled that “the President made it clear there were lapses in the way police operate”.

He added: “Notwithstanding, he also made it clear the methods used by the sect qualified them to be labelled mindless and godless human beings.

“He told Nigerians and the international community the terrorists were not true Muslims.”

Buratai promised to reveal details of how the military subdued the terrorists and parameters to ascertain veracity or otherwise of the assertion, in his memoirs.

He also stressed that winning the hearts and minds of Northeast residents was a major step the Army took that turned the tables against them during his time, saying the people also realised that Buhari was passionate about restoring peace and stability to Borno and other parts, saying there was also reinvigoration of joint civil-military operations, composed of all operational formations.

According to him, the operation had a central coordination headquarters which also coordinated civil and humanitarian activities.

“It assists the joint force commander in humanitarian or national-assistance operations, theatre campaigns or civil-military operations occurring concurrently,” he said.

He urged the military to be resilient and not succumb to threats of insurgents, terrorists, separatists, kidnappers or robbers.

Buratai said the major trick of the terrorists was to instil fear in people so people would be afraid to go to their farms, businesses or send their children to school.

“We must take a stand and show that we are not with the insurgents and terrorists.

“What the military is doing is fighting for the safety of the people. The military is there to protect and defend the people.

“The military is not fighting the terrorists on its own; it is there because of the people. It is a people’s war, and not a military thing.

“Therefore, we must get involved, be resilient, provide timely and credible intelligence and avoid action to disrupt the peace.

“We have a duty to ensure that we entrench peace right from our homes. We must also know what every member of our community is engaged in,” he said.

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