“No local govt. in Nigeria under terrorists’ control'”– CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has said that there is no local government area in Nigeria under the control of Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.

Irabor said this at the 21st Century Chronicle Roundtable, with the theme: “Going for Broke: Fighting Insecurity in Nigeria”, yesterday, in Abuja.

He recalled that a state of emergency was imposed on several local governments in the North-East in the past, especially in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.

According to him, the measure taken at that time was necessary as the country had protocol outlined to manage such a crisis.

“Looking at these issues, the military had to emplace measures by way of crafting operations to suit peculiarities of every geo-political zone. We have ‘Operation Lafiya Dole‘, now ‘Hadin-Kai‘ in the North-East; ‘Hadarin Daji‘ in the North-West and different operations in the North-Central zones.

“There has been the recovery of space. At the peak of insurgency, 14 local government areas, especially in Borno State, were under the control of Boko Haram; however, currently, there is none under their control.

“Equally, in Yobe State, almost four local government areas were under the control of Boko Haram as well as in Adamawa; but currently, Boko Haram is not in control of any local government area. We have recovered arms and ammunitions as well as arrests and surrender of Boko Haram terrorists”, he said.

Irabor said the military had absorbed a good number of Civilian Joint Task Force and deployed them to relevant areas.

He added that 80% of the armed forces personnel were currently deployed across the 36 States of the federation providing security and performing police duties.

According to him, that is the more reason he joined those advocating community policing.

“Yes, there is a community policing framework currently, but it has to be escalated. The NPF is already working on this to see how they could boost community policing mechanisms beyond what it is right now”, he stated.

“Nigerians need to understand the basis of our involvement and the basis are internal confrontations. Of course, our Constitution mandates the armed forces to play a supporting role to the civil authority, in this case, the Police, in circumstances that we have found ourselves.

“The manifestation of these insecurities have assumed such a proportion that the military will be at the forefront of addressing them”, he further said.

The CDS also said the security challenges in the country had been politicised. According to him, the politicisation of the military approach became so profound that the good intentions of the military became skewed.

Irabor blamed the insecurity in the country on the Libyan crisis, which according to him, led to the free flow of arms through Nigeria’s porous borders. He called for the allocation of more resources to defence and security sector to meet the needs of the military.

The CDS also said that Nigeria looks inward for its military hardware to gradually replace imported ones.

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