Os­in­bajo: Mil­i­tary Has De­stroyed Boko Haram

Onaiyekan de­mands probe of mil­i­tary spend­ing

THISDAY - - NEWS - Kings­ley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Vice Pres­i­dent, Yemi Os­in­bajo yes­ter­day de­clared that the mil­i­tary has de­stroyed the back­bone of Boko Haram ter­ror­ists.

This is com­ing as the Arch­bishop of Abuja Dio­cese, Car­di­nal John Onaiyekan, called for the probe of mil­i­tary spend­ing in the North-east.

Onaiyekan specif­i­cally de­manded in­ves­ti­ga­tion of funds de­ployed in the pro­cure­ment of arms and pay­ment of re­mu­ner­a­tion of sol­diers in the bat­tle­field.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen­eral Yusuf Bu­ratai, has also or­dered sol­diers to be de­ci­sive and re­lent­less as they con­tinue with clear­ance op­er­a­tions in Baga, Borno State, which was re­cently re­cap­tured from in­sur­gents.

Speak­ing at an in­ter­de­nom­i­na­tional church ser­vice for 2019 Armed Forces Re­mem­brance Day held at the Na­tional Chris­tian Cen­tre, Abuja, the vice pres­i­dent said the mil­i­tary had de­stroyed the back­bone of Boko Haram ter­ror­ists who once at­tacked Abuja, Kano and Kaduna with im­punity.

“To­day again we par­tic­i­pate in an an­nual tra­di­tion of re­mem­ber­ing and hon­our­ing our de­parted mil­i­tary he­roes. This par­tic­u­lar re­mem­brance day is per­haps more poignant than any other. “In the past few weeks we have buried 13 sol­diers and one of­fi­cer and last week five air force pi­lots all these men died in bat­tle fend­ing off Boko Haram and Is­lamic State for West Africa Prov­ince ter­ror­ists in the North-east.

“In the past few years we have seen pa­tri­o­tism at its high­est. Our valiant men and women of the armed forces have de­stroyed the back­bone of Boko Haram who once at­tacked Abuja, Kano and Kaduna with im­punity and hoisted their tat­tered flags over 17 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Ar­eas (LGAs) in the North-east”, he said.

He noted that “to­day both Boko Haram and ISWAP op­er­ate as small even if deadly guerilla bands in parts of Borno State .

“But in these bat­tles we have been sharply re­minded that in­deed ‘free­dom is not free’. That peace is of­ten paid for with blood and that no na­tion can se­cure its ter­ri­tory with­out the self­less­ness and the supreme sac­ri­fices of many. And truly as some­one said ‘Our flag does not fly be­cause the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each sol­dier who died pro­tect­ing it,” he added.

Os­in­bajo said peace and unity of the coun­try was the best tribute to the na­tion’s fallen he­roes.

In his mes­sage at the church ser­vice, Onaiyekan in­sisted that mil­i­tary spend­ing in the war against in­sur­gency in the North-east must be in­ves­ti­gated “whether they died in com­bat, am­bush or with­out arms”

“These must be in­ves­ti­gated. Those who are re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pened must be in­ves­ti­gated no mat­ter how highly placed. The blood of any Nige­rian should not be wasted un­nec­es­sar­ily”, he said.

Cit­ing a Chris­tian scholar, St. Au­gus­tine, who pos­tu­lated that the role of the mil­i­tary in any na­tion was to “put power be­hind good gov­er­nance and jus­tice” he urged Nige­rian mil­i­tary to adopt that po­si­tion by putting its power be­hind good gov­er­nance and jus­tice.

He also called for the pay­ment of mil­i­tary pen­sion­ers in good time as well as tak­ing care of the fam­i­lies of fallen sol­diers.

On the forth­com­ing elec­tions, he warned against what he de­scribed as “the in­sta­bil­ity of in­jus­tice and the fu­til­ity of vi­o­lence”.

“We can­not un­der­stand a war against in­dis­ci­pline by lock­ing peo­ple in dun­geons and the same in the war against cor­rup­tion by ig­nor­ing hu­man rights”, he said.

Mean­while, Bu­ratai at the week­end or­dered troops to be de­ci­sive in the on­go­ing clear­ance op­er­a­tions in Baga, Borno State.

Speak­ing through the The­atre Com­man­der, Op­er­a­tion Lafiya Dole, Ma­jor Gen­eral Ben­son Ak­in­roluyo, the army chief or­dered troops “to be re­lent­less and de­ci­sive in com­bat­ing the in­sur­gents”, adding that, “no inch of Nige­ria’s ter­ri­tory should be oc­cu­pied by the ter­ror­ists”.

He also en­joined the troops to sus­tain the tempo of the op­er­a­tion and main­tain a high morale to en­able them con­sol­i­date on the suc­cesses so far made in the clear­ance op­er­a­tions.

Ad­dress­ing the troops, who were in high spirit, Ak­in­roluyo ac­com­pa­nied by the Com­man­der, Nige­rian Army Spe­cial Forces Com­mand, Ma­jor Gen­eral Mound­hey Ali, told the troops that Bu­ratai was par­tic­u­larly pleased with their re­cent vic­tory over the in­sur­gents and the op­er­a­tional suc­cesses in the gen­eral area of Baga and the ad­join­ing vil­lages.

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