The recent statement by Chief of Defence Staff only implored Service Chiefs to take necessary steps to bring activities of Boko Haram insurgents in the North East to an end.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, made the clarification while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said it was true that the defence chief, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, discussed the menace of insurgency/terrorism in parts of the country and the state of emergency.
“Accordingly, he declared that April was very crucial in this task (of ending terrorism) as a way of avoiding possible constitutional stalemate.’’
Olukolade said that the statement by Badeh that terrorism would end by April was aimed at motivating commanders to work to restore normalcy in the north eastern parts of the country.
According to him, the defence chief is not unmindful of the hydra-headed nature of the situation when he made the comments.
“He was simply being optimistic that given the vigour, zeal and combat readiness of service chiefs, Nigerian military must work hard to bring the situation to an end or sufficiently put it under control.
“This is to pave the way for normal socio-economic activities in the north eastern parts of the country.
“The defence headquarters is concerned about the implications of the varying interpretations and insinuations being given by 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 to the expediency of sufficiently defeating terrorism and restoring normalcy in all parts of the country.
“Unfortunately, the charge has been taken too literarily to mean definite promise to end terrorism by April.”
He added that as much as security agencies were 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.
He said the CDS’s statement should not be mistaken for a false sense of hope or mere grandstanding as had been implied by some individuals.
The defence spokesman said ending terrorism anywhere had not been and could not be determined by a directive.
Olukolade stated that efforts were however being made to secure better cooperation from neighbouring countries serving as safe havens for terrorists from where they unleash mayhem on Nigerian communities.
He stressed the need for communities to deploy capacity to clean up their territories of terrorists and that appropriate actions have started in this direction.
“Meanwhile, more resources and troops are being deployed to beef up the operations.’’
Olukolade said in times like this, every citizen, individual or corporate organisation including the media and the general public was expected to join hands to ensure sustainable peace and security for all.
“We do not expect less from Nigerians as security challenges call for unity of purpose and not buck passing.’’
“All things being equal, it is envisaged that peace would be restored substantially enough to guarantee return of normal socio-economic and political activities in these states in the not-too-distant future. (NAN)