BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA—Barely 24 hours after Vanguard’s exclusive report about the establishment of a new Infantry Division for the Nigerian Army with headquarters in Maiduguri, the Federal Government has directed that command of the military onslaught against terrorists in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states be taken over by the Army Headquarters.
The new Division, headed by Major General Obida Etnan, will take over the new phase of the battle to continue the counter-insurgency operation with immediate effect.
A statement to this effect yesterday, entitled JTF Hands Over to New Army Division, by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, noted that the development was in line with the plans laid out for the conduct of the operations to execute the mandate spelt out in the state of emergency declaration by the President.
Incidentally, the takeover is coming three months into the six-month first phase of the mission to stamp out terrorism in the North-East.
The statement read: “The command of the ongoing internal security operations in the North-East will tomorrow (today) enter a new phase as the control of the mission reverts to the Army Headquarters.
“Accordingly, a new Army Division has been created and will take off to continue the counter-insurgency operation with immediate effect.
“Coming three months into the mission to stamp out terrorism in the North-East, this development is in line with the plans laid out for the conduct of the operations to execute the mandate spelt out in the state of emergency declaration by the President and Commander-in-Chief.
“The phase being concluded on Monday was executed by a Joint Task Force, JTF, composed by troops drawn from the services of the Armed Forces as well as other security agencies who conducted Operation BOYONA.
“The acronym for the code name, Operation BOYONA, is derived from the names of the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, covered by the state of emergency declaration.
“The effort was meant to constitute the first phase of the counter-terrorists operation. The Nigerian Army will now be solely in charge of the operations, but still under the routine guidance of the Defence Headquarters.
“A General Officer Commanding, GOC, in the rank of Major General, is being proposed to command the new Division, which will have its Headquarters in Maiduguri. He is due to take over Command and the assets of the Headquarters of the Joint Task Force.
“The new Division is to continue with the conduct of counter-terrorists operations in the North-East, which comes under its Area of Responsibility.”