By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Monguno, Borno, reiterated his determination to fish out and punish politicians who were instigating violence in some states for cheap political goals.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari stated this at the closing events of the 2018 Army Day celebrations which was staged at the one-time stronghold of Boko Haram terrorists, Monguno, 136 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri.
According to the President, solution is being found to the deadly clashes between farmers and herdsmen, and whosoever is found culpable will be brought to justice.
While thanking the armed forces for keeping the country safe, President Buhari acknowledged that there were still challenges faced by the nation.
He said: “This does not mean there are no challenges. There are pockets of violence in several states.
“Some deliberately instigated by disgruntled politicians who have lost all arguments and are desperate to cause mayhem as a way of seeking relevance.
“We shall fish them out and punish them according to the provisions of the law.”
The President noted that his administration had worked tirelessly to ensure and preserve the dignity and sanctity of life.
“When I was sworn in as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I promised that this administration would tackle the challenges of insecurity, poor economy and fight corruption.
“We are all witnesses to the fact that our once battered economy as a nation has exited recession and is once again vibrant.
“Our nation is safe again, thanks to the efforts of our security agencies,’’ he said.
President Buhari used the opportunity to reassure the world, Nigerians and the families of the remaining kidnapped Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu of the Dapchi girls’ School that his administration would not relent in its efforts to see that “they are all released.’’
He also reiterated that the issue of Farmers and Herdsmen clashes was being tackled and all those found culpable would be brought to justice.
He, however, enjoined all citizens to always be tolerant, loving and ready to give peace a chance.
President Buhari repeated what he told the Christian Association of Nigeria, Northern Chapter, on Thursday in Abuja, that none of our religions or cultures permitted the killing of one person by another.
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno, who spoke at the occasion, said triumphantly that, “we have cut the rubicon of insurgency in the North-East.
“Thank God, we have come to the end of insurgency. Suicide attack is a sign of weakness, not strength.”
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, commended the army for establishing a Motorcycle Battalion meant to enhance quick mobility and security in areas of unfavourable vehicular movements.
He also lauded the Air Force for setting up Rapid Response groups in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He assured that appropriate measures were being put in place to address security challenges across the country.
“The Armed Forces are currently handling Operation Delta Safe in the South-South; Operation Safe Haven in the North Central and Operation Awatse to combat militant activities in the Arepo general area and other parts of the South-West.
“Recently, the Nigerian Army established Operation Whirl Stroke to tackle insecurity in the North Central states,’’ he added.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, said that the military operations in the North-East were moving from engagements of a combat nature to humanitarian and civilian support services to assist the victims of insurgency to return to their communities which they were forced to abandon.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the choice of Monguno for the 2018 events was intended to celebrate the achievements of the army in its combat efficiency, civil-military relations and its efforts in research, development and technological attainments.
He said the army had accomplished the President’s objective of stabilising the North-East and other parts of the country, and assured of their unwavering support and loyalty to the President and the constitution.
On arrival at the Kinnasara Army barracks in Monguno, President Buhari inspected military equipment on display by the 21 Specialised Corps of the Nigerian Army, and inaugurated the first indigenous Mines Resistant and Ambush Armoured Vehicles (MARAPS).
Before his departure, the President also toured one of the largest Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Monguno town.