By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky E.O Irabor has posited that the military under his watch is recording great successes in the war against insurgency, banditry and other criminal activities in the country.
He also confirmed that the military has received huge operational equipment and armaments including the 12 Tucano fighter jets that arrived last month, which are helping the troops to prosecute the war against insurgency.
General Irabor who spoke to State House Correspondents at the Special Weekly Briefing coordinated by the Presidential Communication Team on Thursday at Presidential Villa, Abuja, used the forum to give update on the security situation and military operations in Nigeria just as he confirmed the death of terrorist kingpin, Abu Musab al Barnawi.
According to him the reorganisation of the military operations since he assumed office has been yielding the desired results even as he revealed that the shutdown of telecommunications in some states in the Northern part of the country is to enquire effective operations of troops.
Said he: “The change in strategy and the shutdown of telecommunications are to ensure effective operations of troops in the North East and West. We have achieved success in clearing the South South of oil and gas theft and South East of some miscreants that are disturbing the peace of the law-abiding citizens”.
“I believe that the best approach to peace is through kinetic and non-kinetic, this is why I have been going around the country holding meeting with stakeholders because I believe that the issue of defence and security is not entirely for the army alone hence I have engaged every other arm of the security agencies in Nigeria”.
General Irabor however commended the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that the massive support the military is receiving now would not have been possible without his support.
Said he: “I must confess that the military is receiving massive support from the Federal Government and our Commander-in-Chief in particular for the continued acquisition of military hardwares including the 12 Tucano planes that are on ground. They arrived last September”.
The military top brass also called for continued acquisition of armaments as long as the military is still in many theatres of war in the country, pointing out that these equipment are needed to deal with the insecurity.
The General however said the military has been recording good success in the war against insurgency, saying that terrorists and bandits are been dealt with across the country.
“I want to confirm that about 10, 000 Boko Haram members have surrendered to the military. We have frustrated the operations of pirates, vandals and other criminals to allow for the smooth operation of oil and gas companies in the South South while some roads earlier closed because of bandits in Niger state have all been opened”, he stated.
Asked if he knows where the bandits have relocated since the military operations against them in the North West, General Irabor who came to the briefing with some of his top officers including the Commander of Army Operations said they are where they are.
“They are essentially, where they are. That is the reason why we are pursuing them. But more seriously, a larger number of the bandits remain in the north west. Of course, a few who are having inroad into the north central, we are taking action, so that they do not spread beyond the known locations.
“But let me tell you also that threat as it were, whether terrorism, banditry, or any form of criminality, they are not confined to boundaries. And this is the reason why when we speak to issues that has to do with national security, It is placed in context with our neighbours, because, if all is well in our home and all is not well with our neighbour, then of course, we can’t have peace.
“So, this is the reason why kineticism has become an approach in this regard. And for many of you who have been very closed observers, I want you to know that there are greater interactions that we have with our neighbours and we do not also want to offset the good relations we have with our neighbours because, it is from the enlightened self-interest perspective that we would do that.
So, bandits location, they remain largely in the Northwest and we are scaling up our operations to ensure that they are essentially addressed”, he concluded.
On if Abu Musab is dead or alive, General Irabor said: “I can authoritatively confirm to you that Abu Musab is dead. As simple as that. He is dead and remains dead”.