•Army takes delivery of more equipment, hails operational successes
Zulum to army: Leave Ondo election, face B’Haram battle
Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, has charged the military to leave internal security during the next Saturday governorship election in Ondo State and concentrate more on counter-insurgency operation in the North East.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the combined Chief of Army Staff Quarterly Conference in Maiduguri, Borno State, yesterday, Zulum said he was a bit scared when the army chief mentioned the successes recorded by troops during the Edo poll and efforts to repeat same in the coming Ondo election.

“When the Chief of Army talked about the success story of Edo election and forthcoming Ondo poll, I was a bit scared because I want the attention of the military to be in the forefront fighting the insurgency,” he said.

He also asked the army to embark on confidence building and confidence sharing with the communities where they are currently carrying out various operations. He urged the military to take the battle to Boko Haram and embark on what he called clinical clearance of Boko Haram remnants after every operation.

He commended the military on renewed vigour in the counter-insurgency operation in recent time.

Lt.-Gen. Tukur Baratai had commended officers and men for the display of professionalism during the September 19 election in Edo.

Buratai said their performance was adjudged satisfactory and highly commended by all sections of the society.

He said their conduct was in tune with his strategic directive for 2020 which is “To Sustain the Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.’’

He said he was happy that his directive on professional conduct was permeating through the ranks as was evident during the recent conduct of Operation Safe Conduct in Edo State.

“This is the standard that must be upheld always and I expect nothing less in the coming Ondo State governorship election on the 10th of October.

“We must continue to chart progressive paths towards tackling the security challenges confronting the nation,’’ he said.

As part of efforts to tackle the prevailing security challenges confronting the country, the Nigerian Army has taken delivery of more sophisticated platforms and war equipment for its operations.

The COAS said while some of the platforms were procured from foreign sources, some were sourced locally through local ingenuity and collaborations.

“To this end, the Nigerian army recently took delivery of key platforms to reinvigorate our operations.

“These include the VT4 and FT1 tanks, the KIA light tactical vehicles as well as the SH2 and SH5 self-propel artillery guns.

“Post treatment training is ongoing on this equipment and they would soon be inducted into the theatre.

“The Nigerian Army received some armoured personnel carrier from Jordan and we are expecting the delivery of other major capabilities.

“Furthermore, through local ingenuity, Nigerian Army facilitated the production and delivery of the pro-force MRAPs, Ezugwu MRAPS as well as the Conqueror and Champion barriers.

“Despite teething challenges in the new innovation, these platforms have no doubt enhanced the effectiveness of our troops across various theatres.

“We will continue to work assiduously to ensure that we support all operations with equipment and platforms,’’ he said.

Buratai, however, urged the commanders to ensure judicious deployment of the assets in order to justify the huge resources expended on them by the Federal Government.

He said the ongoing operations in different parts of the country to curtail the activities of criminals had witnessed tremendous successes.

The COAS said the military had done well in curtailing the activities of insurgents, armed bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers, as well as farmer-herder clashes and other crimes.

He urged the field commanders to sustain the tempo of operation to ensure the total decimation of all the inimical forces across the country.

According to Buratai, the Nigerian Army had done well in operation Lafiya Dole and the recently launched operation Sahel Sanity in the North West to rid the Katsina, Zamfara, corridors of marauding bandits.