ABUJA — Military authorities in Abuja have declared that the bombardment of Boko Haram camps and hideouts in the forests, hills and border areas of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, to ensure total elimination of terrorists who have been killing and maiming innocent Nigerians will be sustained.
The Defence headquarters’ made the declaration just as it warned prominent Nigerians who have continued to make inciting statements tailored towards bringing down the morale of troops or portraying Nigerian security forces as weaklings in the war, that ‘at the appointed time, anyone found to be undermining morale of the men will pay dearly for it but through constitutional procedures’.
Speaking during a Joint Security Information Committee briefing on security developments in the country, Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade noted that there is no truth whatsoever that soldiers prosecuting the war are running from insurgents neither was there any issue of poor welfare package for troops.
According to him, “during operation to rid the camps of terrorists, if the terrain is a difficult one and there is need for air bombardment, the pilot would of course advise troops to evacuate the location which is normal strategy. For someone or mischief makers to now say that troops are running from insurgents shows attempt at misleading the nation and demoralising the men”.
Emphasizing that the allowances for troops in operation cannot be stolen as the structures put in place for payment of such allowances were fraud proof, General Olukolade said, “Right from the beginning of our training in Academy days and others, the issue of welfare of the men has remained paramount to leadership training. So we don’t need a spokesman of terrorists to tell us how to take care of the welfare of our men”.
He explained that aside the allowances for troops, there were two levels of insurance schemes for the soldiers involved in the war on terror, one from the Army headquarters and another one from the Defence headquarters.
His words, “The onslaught of terror is ongoing in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. In the wake of relentless bombardments of their bases by the security forces, fleeing terrorists resorted to attacking soft targets including the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi and other areas with a view to maintaining a false sense of invincibility”.
“There is no respite yet for the terrorists as the security forces have continued to launch air raids on their suspected bases while mop up operation by the ground forces are being intensified. Consequently, scores of terrorists have either being killed or apprehended and assorted weapons recovered”.
“Useful information are also are also extracted from the confessions of those in the custody of the security forces while patrols are sustained”.
Emphasizing on soldiers morale, Olukolade said, “This committee has noted with great concern the orchestrated attack on the morale of the Nigerian Security forces engaged in the fight against terrorism by a section of the political elite.
“They make unfounded claims and allegations on welfare of soldiers under the pretext of being more caring for the welfare and condition of Nigerian soldiers but their intention is to encourage indiscipline and ultimately mutiny”
“These sets of Nigerians have taken every available media platform to disparage efforts of the leadership of Nigerian Armed forces in the fight against terror. They have not only accused the military and security agencies of denying soldiers and other security personnel of their entitlements, they have been spreading the sick rumour that the gallant Nigerian soldiers are grumbling over inadequate resources and lack motivation to take on the insurgents”.
“These unfounded allegations and outright rumour mongering are to say the least, callous, mischievous and inimical to the well being of our national security” Olukolade said.