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Days of military misadventure into politics will never repeat itself – Buratai





By Kingsley Omonobi

ABUJA—Following recent disclosure by some senior officers of the Nigerian Army, including the 38 officers sacked by the Army Council for alleged complicity and partisanship in the 2015 general election, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has dared those not satisfied with the process to go to court.

Buratai admitted that some of the officers had petitioned the Army Council and other quarters over their alleged unjust retirement, insisting that due process was followed to the letter.

Speaking on the allegations regarding his family’s purchase of houses in Dubai and that of the alleged purchase of refurbished weaponry and logistics equipment which were presented as brand new, the Army Chief described such allegations as the handiwork of cyber and internet terrorists who had been defeated on land at the epicenter of Boko Haram insurgency.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai

Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai

The COAS, who spoke on the occasion of a media briefing to kick-start the Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2016, added: “With regards to the retirements, I will not have said anything because the minister has cleared all doubts. But I want to inform you that due process was followed. It is a good idea that some of them are going to court.”

The COAS who spoke on the occasion of a media briefing to kick-start the Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2016, explained further, “With regards to the retirements, I would not have said anything because the minister has cleared the doubt. But I want to inform you that due process was followed. It is a good idea that some of them are going to court. Some of them have written and we will respond to them accordingly. I have directed the legal department to prepare our defence for those going to court. The Army Council in its wisdom has taken the right decision and we have to abide by it”.

“For those making allegation about houses and weaponry procurement, the media should read between the lines. We have completely defeated the terrorists and insurgents (Boko Haram) on land and the remnants are fleeing. They can’t hold territories but are running to border countries.
“Now they have migrated to cyberspace and the internet. What they are now doing is resorting to cyber and internet (online) terrorism to distract the Nigerian Army. But I assure you, we will defeat them. We are developing our own cyber warriors in the Nigerian Army to deal with their threat. I assure you we will also defeat them”.
Regarding the refurbished weaponry and logistics equipment some of which were said to be failing, Buratai said, “This is all part of the campaign of calumny. I am always highly concerned about doing the right thing. My officers know my position. We have carried out several investigations and due diligence on issues of arms and logistics procurement and their quality/capabilities. So there is no room for sub standard weaponry as claimed”.
On the coup allegation by militants which resulted in him summoning GOCs and PSO;s to Abuja, he said, “Our position has been made clear. It is in our interest to look at every aspect of the allegation. We will continue to monitor and anyone who tries to destabilize this administration will be making a big mistake. Those days of military misadventure into politics will never repeat itself. They will fail and indeed they have failed“.
Asked how possible it is for over 5, 000 hostages to be freed from Boko Haram captivity when both the federal government and the military have said severally that Boko Haram have been defeated, the Army Chief said, “Yes 5, 000 people were rescued in Borno. When we say the terrorists have been defeated and they can no longer hold territory, which is the situation. It is very clear because none of their members can hold territory.
“However, because of the nature of the area, our troops have been passing through these villages and the people were afraid to talk because some Boko Haram terrorists hiding in their midst threatened to kill them if they speak. It is not that they were held as an organized arrangement where those criminals as a group held them down. As the people became more confident of their security, with the military’s constant patrols and presence, they opened up and this led to the terrorists been cleared from these villages” Buratai said.
For ‘Operation Delta Safe’ the joint security outfit which now has a Naval Rear Admiral as Commander, he said, “The Nigerian Army is still very much involved in security operations about stemming the tide of militancy, oil and gas platforms destruction and vandalism in the Niger Delta. But the truth is that the Nigerian Navy is more professionally trained for operations in that zone of the country. The Navy knows the ground very well and they have the capability to conduct operations very well over there and they have good reach.
“But the army is also there and will continue to play our roles. We are in charge of the land component of the operation. We have the kind of component command necessary for operations side by side other security agencies and that is the amphibious roles. The only change is the leadership Command of the joint operation.
Commenting on the remaining Chibok Girls if they will still be recovered, Buratai said, “By our own account, the two rescued girls from Chibok, were abducted from Chibok, it doesn’t matter when they were abducted. Anybody that is rescued is as important as anyone abducted. We will continue to search for the remaining girls. They may have been spread all over the Sambisa forest probably, or they could be in one place. We are still searching for them and we will continue to search for them. If they are still alive, by God’s grace, we will rescue them”.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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