We've defeated Boko Haram, will attack Niger Delta militants if dialogue fails – Army

By The Citizen
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The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, on Monday, in Lagos, said there were no longer camps of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-Eastern part of the country.

Usman made the assertion while addressing newsmen at the inauguration of Strategic Communication Course for senior officers at the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information, Bonny Camp, Lagos.

Usman, while assuring Nigerians that the military was winning the war against terrorism, said there were no more terrorists clustered in a particular place in the area.

'The situation in the North-East has tremendously improved. The military operations or the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the North-East is hinged on three things.

'First, defeating the Boko Haram terrorists which have been accomplished and making room to facilitate humanitarian assistance which is also ongoing.

'Then restoration of law and order for good governance to take place.

'We no longer have camps of Boko Haram terrorists and we no longer have them convened in the territories,' he said.

'Those that were hitherto close are now open to the extent that we have trans-border trade.

'Take for instance; just recently, the important road that links Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon was just re-opened.

'We have come to the point that we can beat our chest and decisively say we have dealt with Boko Haram.'

On the inauguration of the communication course, Usman said training of personnel was paramount, adding that it would enhance proficiency.

'It is in this regard that the Directorate of Army Public Relations places high premium on training of officers and soldiers.

'The Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information must remain focused in the training of officers and soldiers to meet the need of well trained and skilled manpower.

'This is the first of its kind to further enhance further joint operations of the armed forces and possibly international military engagement,' Usman said.

'It is my hope that this course will make the desired impact on all of you and explicit growth fertilisation of ideas among the participants.

'It is also our desire to see that at the end of the course, we turn out better informed senior officers.

'Also, they should be well-equipped to partake in making or taking strategic decision for the Nigerian army information and dissemination management,' he said.

Usman thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, for improving the Nigerian Army formations.

The NASPRI commandant, Colonel John Agim, said the course was to better equip senior officers who were saddled with the responsibility of shaping the information environment.

Agim said the course, which would run for three months, would be on media planning and crisis management, media matters and interview skills and digital media influence among others.

Meanwhile, the wife of Borno State governor, Hajiya Nana Shettima, on Monday, donated assorted food items to 1,500 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Shettima, while distributing the items at the Government House, said no fewer than 5, 000 widows, orphans and other vulnerable people had so far benefited from similar gesture in the last two months.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has said it would attack the Niger Delta Avengers if government's effort to dialogue with the group and other militant groups fails.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai declared this yesterday at the inauguration of newly built ultra-modern 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army headquarters complex and an Olympic-size swimming pool in Port Harcourt.

Buratai urged militant groups in the Niger Delta region to explore democratic means to make their needs known rather than resorting to violence.

'Government is still committed to dialogue, and whereby this cannot go on, then, we could resort to other means.

'The non-kinetic (force) means has always been the first before government can resort to the kinetic means.

'So, there is need for the Niger Delta Avengers to see reason and dialogue with government,' he said.

Buratai, who was represented by Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu, said the military would provide security for July 30 legislative rerun election, if need be.

He said the Army was faced with shortage of accommodation, offices and other infrastructure needed for optimal performance by troops.

The Chief of Army Staff informed current intervention effort in renovating dilapidated structures and building new ones, despite challenges of dwindling national resources.

'The newly built RSM accommodation quarters and brigade administrative headquarters will provide a conducive atmosphere for higher productivity by officers and soldiers.

'Also, the Olympic size swimming pool will avail troops opportunity to continue to train and prepare for amphibious operation in our maritime environment,' he said.

Buratai commended Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, immediate past Commander of 2 Brigade Port Harcourt, for seeing to the completion of the projects in a period of six months.

Earlier, Brig-Gen Stevenson Olabanji, Commander, 3 Brigade, Kano, said he embarked on the projects with focus to improve command and control operations of the brigade.

'On assumption of office, I thought it wise to build a structure that would accommodate all the staff branches and sub-units of the brigade.

'Similarly, the Olympic size swimming pool came about as a result of death of some soldiers because of their inability to swim.

'The swimming pool will enhance troops confidence and increase chances of survival in emergency situation during the conduct of operations on waterways and creeks,' he said. - Tribune, The Sun.