In what appears like a volt face, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday, denied accusing commanders and soldiers of lack of commitment to the war on insuegency terrorism in the North-East.
According to the army chief, who made the denial while responding to questions after visiting Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State in Maiduguri, he was quoted out of context.
“Let me categorically say that I never said in my remarks that the troops lack commitment.
“It was completely wrong and I want to believe that somehow, I was quoted out of context and probably with an element of mischief.
“If you read that remark which was published on our website, you will see that there is nothing like lack of commitment.
“Some have even gone beyond that and quoted me as saying that the troops are cowards. This is far, far from the truth,’’ he said.
According to Buratai, it was unfortunate that some journalists and indeed, newspaper houses went to the extent of distorting the facts, recalling that the statement was made at a training workshop to re-assess operations and find solutions to the challenges being faced in order to do better.
“Counter-insurgency is a complex operation; it is quite fluid,’’ he said, adding that in such operations, “you deal with an enemy that you cannot easily identify.’’
It would be recalled that Buratai had at a leadership transformational workshop for middle cadre officers and soldiers in Abuja on June 18, said that some setbacks in operations in recent times stemmed from “insufficient commitment’’ by those at the frontlines.
He said at the workshop: “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigeria army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks.
“Or simply, insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontlines.
“Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or Service course.”