October 20, 2015

Boko Haram: Weather, logistics challenges threatening December deadline, Service Chiefs tell Buhari

Service chiefs

File: From left, Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Baba Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Burutai and Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Abayomi Gabriel during Service Chiefs confirmation meeting with Ad-Hoc Committee on Screening of the Service Chiefs of the Senate, at the National Assembly, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan.

By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – The December deadline given to the Nigerian Army by president Mohammadu Buhari to completely rout out Boko Haram insurgents in the North east may not be feasible after all, as Service Chiefs on Monday told the president that their effort was being threatened by weather and logistics.

The Service Chiefs however did not specifically ask for extension of time.

Speaking to State House Correspondents on behalf of the Chiefs after a Security meeting with president Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja to brief him on the efforts of the military so far in the troubled north east, the Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, Abayomi Olonishakin and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Alhaji Ismalia Aliyu, said the military was still on course despite the challenges.

Olonishakin said: “It is a normal consultation to intimate him of the issues on ground we briefed him on the security situation on ground after a 60-day review and we had to brief him on the challenges we have and ensure that the mandate we have is properly delivered.

“Of course, the challenges we are looking at are the issues of probably the weather as it were and some other logistics that we feel we should have so that the mandate can be quickly delivered. He is very excited, very happy. As for our request, he gave the mandate.

Extension of the deadline?

“We have not said that. The mandate is that we should clear Boko Haram from the occupied territories and ensure that we reclaim all the lost grounds. That is exactly what we are doing.

Is the mandate feasible?

“It is a military operation and military operations have time-lines and these time-lines, we are working on the assiduously”.

The CDS also confirmed the contributions of the governments of both United States of America and the United kingdom.

“When we get there, we will let you know. They have been involved in some capacity building and of course the tangible ones. But when we get there, we will let you know about it”.

In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Alhaji Aliyu also hinted that the presidential directive was for the military to stay on task even as he expressed confidence in the ability of the military to ensure that the mandate was realized.

“We are here to brief the president on the situation of what armed forces have been doing in the north east and the south south. That is exactly what we discussed with Mr President.

“The directive is that we should continue what we have been doing and in the next few days, there will be another meeting. But by and large the president is excited and confident that the leadership of the Nigerian armed forces that he puts in will do us proud”, he said.

The meeting also had the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno in attendance.