Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, on Thursday claimed that Boko Haram, which has been terrorizing the North East of the country, has been defeated.
He said the Nigerian Army has defeated the insurgence group to a level they “will never come again as Boko Haram”.
According to him, reports of attacks still occurring in North East is coming from Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), which he said is a group of international criminal organizations that are only trying make use of openings created by the breakdown of law and order in some neighbouring countries to perpetrate criminality in the West African sub-region.
Buratai stated this when he played host to several school children in Abuja, who visited him to learn more about a book written in his honour, “The Legend of Buratai”. The book was presented to the public on May 17.
The Army chief, however, assured that like Boko Haram has been supposedly pushed out of the North East, ISWAP will also be flushed out of the troubled region.
Buratai’s claim is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, recently said that he cannot say if Boko Haram will ever be totally flushed out of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, when asked about his office and how he copes with its pressures, Buratai said, “When I was appointed the Chief of Army Staff, I had the feeling that I will be the least controversial COAS. I had the feeling I will have an excellent relationship with the media. This first thing I did was to call the then Director of Army Public Relations and I told him that henceforth, all our actions and activities must be reported and made known to the media.
“They had a right to know. It is the Nigerian Army. There should be no gaps about information in our operations in the North East or elsewhere. Before then, we used to have so many reporters in the north east including informants for the terrorists who plant stories and breaking news some of which went contrary to happenings, with a ploy to make troops unstable or demoralized.
“So we started reporting events and occurrence about the battle, attacks in the northeast. We were breaking the news ourselves but this time, the real actions on the ground, not fabrications.
“We also commenced interaction with stakeholders for them to see and know the true happenings, which later opened their eyes to appreciate what we were going through and the heroic efforts of troops. We interacted with the NBA, Human Rights Groups, the Media, & others and they now understood our job better.
“I also took personal steps to ensure troops fitness and agility particularly on the battlefield by issuing orders for officers and soldiers to trim down.
“We also had pressures from International Organizations including Amnesty International who also found fault in anything we do.
“I believe they have a hidden agenda which is best known to them by reporting falsehood against Nigerian military But by and large we set up investigation teams and found out the allegations they made were fabricated.”
Some of the schools who paid the army chief the visit include White Plain British Schools, Abuja, EFAB International School, Gifted Hunira Arcade, Command Children School Mogadishu, Command Day Secondary School, Lungi, and Command Secondary School Suleija (Boarding).