– says terror group in Lagos, other states
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has accused some communities in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria of shielding members of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Buratai who made the allegation while speaking in an interview with Arise TV on Saturday, however, maintained that the terror group has been largely defeated.
According to him, insurgency has been curtailed, but what is happening at the moment is terrorism which, like armed robbery, kidnapping and other crimes, will outlive everyone in the room.
Buratai regretted that the army is facing a lot of negative publicity in the course of its effort to tackle Boko Haram while absorbing the force of blame. He noted that the job of the military is to defend the country from external aggression and as it stands, there is no such aggression. According to him, the military is helping the police fight internal aggression and the situation could have been much worse if not for the unrelenting effort to the military.
“There is nowhere you don’t find Boko Haram. There is Boko Haram in Lagos, there is Boko Haram in Kaduna, even in Abuja. How many times have members of Boko Haram have been arrested in Lagos? The point is that we have contained them. Like I said at the national assembly, we have contained insurgency. What we have now is terrorism.
“Terrorism will outlive everyone in this room. It will continue, just like kidnapping, burglary, armed robbery and so on. What is happening is criminality.
“Since last year, we have not given them respite. They are desperate. That’s why they are blocking highways, kidnapping people and targeting certain religious people.”
The army chief noted that there have been massive improvements since 2015 as the terror group no longer have the capacity to hit targets as they used to.
“ThisDay office was bombed in Abuja. Has it happened again? The Nyanya bomb blast, the Suleja attacks, these where in the heart of Abuja. Has it happened again in the last five years? Now it’s restricted. It’s not even happening in the whole of Borno.
“It’s all propaganda to say Boko Haram is coming back and to suggest that all our efforts over the years have come to naught. These propaganda have implications for our national security and national unity.”
Buratai blamed communities in Borno State for shielding members of the terrorist group.
“People in those communities are also supporting the insurgency by shielding them. When you arrest some of these people, they will say you are arresting innocent people. But they hide in those communities.”
He appealed on Nigerians to continue to support the military in its effort to keep the country safe.
“What we are having now is terrorism, and I call on Nigerians to understand. We are doing everything necessary to defeat the insurgency, we are developing human capacity. And I’m happy that the issue of community policing is coming up. Everyone should corporate in the effort to end this insurgency. We thank Nigerians for their support. The army is here to protect our territorial integrity.”