Series of reactions have trailed a speech given by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal AS Badeh during the handing over ceremony with his predecessor, the immediate past CDS.
Badeh was quoted as having pegged an April date this year for a promised end to terrorist activities in the country, specifically referring to Boko Haram insurgents in the North-eastern states.
There were a lot of speculations in the media about the CDS’s bogus statement and the false sense of hope it purportedly inferred, considering the erstwhile inability of security operatives to curtail terrorist activities in the past.
The Defence Headquarters, however, has sought to clear the air on the April deadline ‘misunderstanding’ via a press release dated February 4th, 2014.
The press release, signed by Major General Chris Olukolade, the Director, Defence Information, reads:
The remarks made by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal AS Badeh during the handing and taking over ceremony between him and the immediate past CDS on the need to end terrorism by April this year, has expectedly generated a lot of comments, interpretation and reaction especially from the media. This has necessitated a clarification in the interest of the general public and for record purposes.
It is true that the CDS discussed the menace of insurgency/terrorism in parts of the country and the state of emergency. He also implored the Service Chiefs to take every necessary steps towards bringing the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in the north east to an end. Accordingly, he declared that, April is very crucial in this task especially as a way of avoiding possible constitutional stalemate.
The CDS was not unmindful of the hydra-headed nature of the situation when he made those comments. He was simply being optimistic that given the vigour, zeal and combat readiness of the new Service Chiefs, the Nigerian military must work hard to bring the situation in the north east to an end or sufficiently under control to pave way for normal socio-economic activities in these parts of the country.
The Defence Headquarters is concerned about the implications of the varying interpretations and insinuations given to the remarks of the CDS which was essentially directed to the new Service Chiefs.
For the avoidance of doubt, the declaration was more of a charge to the new Service Chiefs to brace up to the expediency of sufficiently defeating terrorism and restore normalcy in all parts of the country to avert extension after April. The CDS statement should not be mistaken for a false sense of hope or mere grandstanding as have been imputed by some individuals. Ending terrorism anywhere has never been and cannot be precisely determined by a directive.
The remarks by the CDS was meant to motivate commanders and troops to work harder towards restoration of normalcy as envisaged in the states under Emergency rule. Unfortunately, the charge has been taken too literally to mean definite promise to end terrorism by April.
Much as the security agencies are working hard to ensure safety of citizens, the nature of terrorism in Nigeria especially the trans-border dimension makes it difficult to make definite commitment or promise. Efforts are however being made to secure better cooperation from neighbouring countries serving as safe havens for terrorists from where they unleash mayhem in Nigerian communities. However, there is still need for communities to deploy capacity to clean up their territories of terrorists and appropriate actions have started in this direction.
Meanwhile more resources and troops are being deployed to beef up the operations. It is however usual and indeed not out of place to point out that as it is often the case in other climes individuals and corporate bodies go all out to demonstrate support for the country’s effort at containing threats to national security or war by even going to the extent of channeling materials and moral resources towards assisting the military to combat the sources of threat. Accordingly, in times like this, every citizen, individual or corporate organisation including media and the general public are expected to join hands in ensuring that sustainable peace and security is achieved for the good of all in record time. We do not expect less from Nigerians.
Security challenges calls for unity of purpose and not buck passing. Indeed, no material or moral support to the efforts of the security forces is too much in demonstrating a collective resolve to end the menace of terrorism in Nigeria.
All things being equal, it is envisaged that normalcy would have been restored substantially enough to guarantee restoration of normal socio-economic and political activities in these states in no distant future.
The DHQ wishes to assure Nigerians and indeed the international community that the Nigerian Armed Forces is committed to restoring normalcy in all parts of the federation.