President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday visited Borno State where he addressed troops fighting insurgency and commissioned projects done by the state government.
The president addressed the troops barely 24 hours after one of their bases in Damboa, came under attack from insurgents in which two soldiers were reportedly injured.
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While urging the troops not allow adversaries the opportunity or breathing space to challenge or undermine the national interests and core values, he said the defence and security agencies should rest assured of the Federal Government’s unalloyed commitment to winning the battle against terror and criminality.
In the interim, contrary to complaints by some soldiers fighting insurgency who claimed that they have not been rotated for four years to other formations, the president said he has directed troop rotation in a move to boost their morale.
He said, “In addition, your welfare is of utmost importance and concern to this government. I am glad that the gradual rotation of the troops in the field has commenced, as I directed. I am sure that this will minimize and possibly eliminate battle fatigue, as well as enhance troops’ morale.”
He sent condolences to the families of fallen heroes and said his administration will spare no effort or resources to ensure that the widows and children of fallen heroes, who paid the supreme price in defence of the country, are well cared for.
The president who visited a health facility at the Maimalari Cantonment said authorities will continue to ensure that wounded ‘comrades’ get the best medical attention towards their full recovery.
Extols troops efforts
President Buhari acknowledged troops collective efforts at decimating and degrading the terrorists and reaffirming the ‘inviolable’ sovereignty of the nation and extol their steadfastness and untiring efforts in the face of the difficulties they experience in the Theatres of Operation.
He said “Your collective efforts have resulted in the relative peace being enjoyed in the region today. Under my watch, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have been provided a firm strategy and clear sense of direction to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.”
He further acknowledged the ‘increasing’ understanding and cooperation within the military, as well as the inter-agency cooperation in the fight against the terrorists and other criminal elements in the North East.
According to him “the outcome of this synergy is evidenced by the successes recorded in the ongoing Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO which has so far degraded the insurgents’ capabilities in the Timbuktu Triangle, Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad Region. I am therefore pleased to acknowledge that the military and other security agencies including civilian stakeholders are adhering to the true spirit of Operation HADIN KAI which implies jointness, synergy and cooperation.
“By pooling together, the collective resources and comparative advantages of the armed forces and other security agencies, we hope the enemy will now feel the ferocity of our firepower and the weight of our resolve.”
Post-war reconstruction plan
President Buhari stated that side by side with the efforts of the armed forces and security agencies, his administration is developing a strategy for post-war reconstruction and peace-building. Concerted efforts are being made to fast-track re-construction and development programmes in the affected communities in the North East.
He said, “I am hopeful that this will lead to the speedy resettlement of displaced persons, as well as the restoration of bubbling community life as the people return to their homes.
“Alongside investment in development and reconstruction, we will sustain our investment in the armed forces in a manner that balances the carrot and stick.”
He said equipment have been injected into the Theatre and soon other equipment that have just arrived the country would also be deployed to the Theatre of operations. Much more equipment will be procured for the armed forces to cater for both the short and long-term requirements.
He said the repairs and maintenance of ‘some of these vital weapons’ are being carried out in the country thereby saving the nation a lot of foreign exchange and also creating jobs for our teeming population.
“You must therefore remain steadfast and see this war to a conclusive end. In doing so, you must rely on interagency cooperation; strengthen your cohesion with the troops of neighboring Republics of Cameroon, Chad and Niger in our collective fight against the terrorists, under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force. This will consolidate our efforts and facilitate the speedy return of peace and stability to the region,” he said.
Buhari commissions projects
Earlier, President Buhari alongside Borno Stare Governor, Babagana Zulum and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni have commissioned the Government Technical Secondary School, Njimtilo and the Senate Building of the Borno State University.
President Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Health to work with Borno State Government in identifying areas through which the FG can support ongoing construction of Borno State University Teaching Hospital through interventions equipment and manpower.
Other projects at the university are two hostels with 150 rooms for 1,200 students, 34 units of duplexes and bungalows for Professors, senior and intermediate staff, seven kilometers of road and drainage network.
He also commissioned, Vocational Training Institute, Muna, describing it as “a very dynamic answer to skills acquisition and job creation efforts” with potentials of drastically reducing youths unemployment in Borno to make economic induced recruitment harder for terrorists.