President Muhammadu Buhari says all Local Government Areas previously controlled by the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have been reclaimed.
The President made this known in a nationwide broadcast on Friday to mark the country’s Democracy Day.
According to President Buhari, indigenes in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe affected by the insurgency, hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes, have all returned.
The President assured Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to silence the remnants of terrorists and bandits operating from the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin.
While regretting the recent killings in Borno and Katsina States, he vowed that measures were already in place to avoid a reoccurrence in the future.
The president, however, called on local authorities to support the military in fishing out these criminal elements.
He said, “In the area of security, we remain unshaken in our resolve to protect our national infrastructure including on-shore and off-shore oil installations, secure our territorial waters and end piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Ending insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.
“All the Local Governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.
“The total collapse of the economies of these areas, which constituted a threat to our food security, has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities.
“I regret recent sporadic incidents with tthe ratragicoss of lives in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security Agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.
“I must implore state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets so that the Securit agencies can nip in the bud any planned attacks in remote rural areas. I send my heartfelt condolences to all the relatives and communities affected.”
Recall that Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had earlier this week met with the President after over two months on the frontlines in the northeast.
Although the COAS admitted that the “fight is still ongoing,” he revealed that “tremendous successes” have been recorded.
Buhari added, “The troops are putting in their best and that has resulted in the tremendous successes we are recording.
“The fight is still ongoing and over 1429 of this Boko Haram terrorists have been neutralised and we have arrested over 166 Boko Haram terrorist informants, their spies, couriers on logistics and their coordinators in the villages, the towns and forests.”
Lt. Gen. Buratai’s stands were echoed by Sen. Ali Ndume, who acknowledged that the COAS’ stay in the Northeast significantly impacted on the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.
Ndume, who is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Nigerian Army, made this known in Maiduguri on Monday while speaking with newsmen.
“Definitely the coming of COAS has made visible difference. He has taken a break after two months, to re-strategize because the remaining areas are delicate, because they are mixed with civilians being held hostage by the insurgents,” he said.