The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on Sunday restated a widely held stance by federal officials that the Boko Haram insurgents have been defeated.
Mr Buratai’s statement on Sunday follows similar ones by other officials of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Earlier on Independence Day, President Buhari had also said the Boko Haram had been “beaten.” The president, however, said the terror group still carries out isolated attacks.
The Boko Haram who in 2015 controlled several local governments across North-east Nigeria no longer control any, officials have said.
Critics have, however, pointed to isolated attacks by the terror group on civilians and security formations as well as suicide bombings as evidence they are yet to be defeated. The government also recently indicated its willingness to spend about $1 billion to fight the terror group and other causes of insecurity across the country.
On Sunday, Mr Buratai, a lieutenant general, made his declaration at a special service to commemorate the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, held at St Bartholomew’s Military Church, Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.
Mr Buratai, represented by David Ahmadu, the Chief of Training and Operations, Army Headquarters, disclosed that the military has won the war against the insurgency.
He said the military had recorded successes in the intensified offensive, routed and defeated the insurgents, adding that the military was committed to the restoration of peace to the region.
Mr Buratai decried the insurgents’ recruitment of the teeming unemployed youth in their fight.
The army chief admonished parents to ensure proper moral upbringing of their wards to protect them from being used by bad elements to foment troubles and disrupt peace in the society.
“I want to assure you without mincing words that the Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated, all we are fighting for now is the peace in the northeast.
“Character begins from home; if the children or the youth do not listen to their parents then there is a problem. It is the responsibilities of parents to ensure that they disciplined their children.
“And the children too must have something to give back by being disciplined, educated, try to behave well wherever they go and without being deceived by anyone to do what is bad.”
Mr Buratai stressed the commitments of the military to end the insurgency, protect lives and property and secure the nation’s territorial integrity.
He noted that the Nigerian Army had contributed to peacebuilding in various countries across the globe.
The army chief added that their sacrifices of the fallen heroes would be immortalised by ensuring unity, peace and stability in the country.
Mr Buratai charged the soldiers not to allow themselves to be hoodwinked by self-seeking individuals who promote hate speech, and to remain dedicated and professional in the discharge of their duties.
While commending President Buhari over his support to the military, the army chief tasked commanders to ensure effective utilisation of equipment and logistics provided to facilitate successful completion of the counter-insurgency campaign.
Also, Rogers Nicholas, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed that the troops had recorded significant success in various operations against the insurgents in Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region in the past few days.
Mr Nicholas, a major general, assured that the counter-insurgency campaign would soon be concluded.
Highlights of the events included special prayer session for the fallen heroes, orphans and widows as well as prayer for the nation and success of Operation Lafiya Dole.
It will be recalled that a major factional leader of the insurgents’ group, Mamman Nur, was wounded, many insurgents killed and thousands captured while several others fled the onslaught at their enclaves in Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region.
Hundreds of civilians were also freed by troops from terrorists’ captivity in the ongoing clearance operation in the past one week.