President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the military and other security agents not to give breathing space to terrorists and criminals in the country.
The President gave the charge on Thursday while addressing personnel of the Armed Forces and security agencies in Operation Hadin Kai at the Maimalari Cantonment during a visit to Borno State.
He said the war against insurgency must be concluded with the restoration of peace and reconstruction of all the affected areas.
“While acknowledging your collective efforts at decimating and degrading the terrorists and reaffirming the inviolable sovereignty of our nation, I also wish to extol your steadfastness and untiring efforts in the face of the difficulties you experience in the Theatres of Operation.
“We should not allow our adversaries the opportunity or breathing space to challenge or undermine our national interests and core values. The defence and security agencies should rest assured of the Federal Government’s unalloyed commitment to winning the battle against terror and criminality.
“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,” the President said.
President Buhari also said the nation owes a debt of gratitude to military men and women, and security agencies currently tackling security challenges in the country, particularly the many who paid the supreme price.
He assured that the government will continue to support all the loved ones.
” I want to seize this opportunity to put it on record that our nation will forever be indebted to you, for your patriotic commitment to the defence of our fatherland against insurgency and criminality.
“I, therefore, commend you and remember all the personnel who have paid the supreme sacrifice in ensuring that Nigeria remains an indivisible and secure entity.
“As I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of our fallen heroes and pray for the souls of the departed, I want to assure you that my administration will spare no effort or resources to ensure that the widows and children of our fallen heroes who paid the supreme price in defence of our beloved country are well cared for,” he said.
The President said wounded comrades will get the best medical attention towards their full recovery and commended the military and security agencies for the synergy that translated into successes in restoring peace and order.
“I am particularly happy to note 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.
“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,” the President said.
Buhari also assured that his administration is developing a strategy for post-war reconstruction and peace-building.
“Concerted efforts are being made to fast-track reconstruction and development programmes in the affected communities in the North East.
“I am hopeful that this will lead to the speedy resettlement of displaced persons, as well as the restoration of bubbling community life as 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.
The President said several interventions by the Federal Government had led to the procurement and delivery of large consignments of critical combat enablers, including high calibre weapons and ammunition.
“Many have been injected into the Theatre and soon other equipment that have just arrived in 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.
“I would like, at this point, to also commend the hierarchy of our Armed Forces for their strategic foresight in ensuring that some of our critical military equipment are fabricated locally.”
In his remarks, the Commander of Theatre Operations HADIN KAI, Maj Gen. Felix Omoigui, assured troops of the President’s confidence and commitment to their welfare, especially in bringing the war to a conclusive end.
The Commander thanked the President for the visit to the troops, which he said will greatly boost the morale of all those fighting to keep the country in peace.
Governors of Borno and Yobe State, Babagana Zulum and Mai Bunu respectively, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Leo Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao and National Security Adviser, Maj Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), were also at the event.