- Boko Haram Attacks: Borno Gov. calls extraordinary emergency security meeting•
BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
Few months to the 2019 general election, the Nigerian Army on Friday flagged off a military exercise, Egwu Eke III, to checkmate cases of lawlessness and insecurity across the country.
Speaking during the flag off of the exercise in Maiduguri, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who was represented by Maj. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, the Chief, Army Training and Operations, said the operation would cover the entire country.
He explained that: “Egwu Eke”, which is an Igbo phrase meaning “Python Dance”, was first introduced in the South East with Egwu Eke I and II exercises executed successfully in year 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“It yielded positive results in checkmating the security challenges being witnessed in the South East region then.”
“Exercise EGWU EKE IIIis significant because for the first time it will be conducted simultaneously across the country. It is also a reassurance of the resolve of the Nigerian Army and indeed the entire Armed Forces of Nigeria as well as other security agencies to ensure that law and order is maintained as we approach the forthcoming 2019 General Elections.”
“The Nigerian Army will continue to conduct Internal Security operations in combating criminality and other security challenges in the country, in line with its constitutional mandate of Military Aid to Civil Authority.
“As the build up to the 2019 General Elections gathers momentum, an upsurge of security challenges such as stockpiling of arms by criminal groups, formation of ethnic militias and violence induced by political activities has been observed.
“These challenges coupled with other security threats across the country such as terrorism, militancy, kidnapping and banditry portend that dissident groups and criminal elements could cash in on the situation to perpetrate large scale violence before, during and after the 2019 General Elections,” he explained.
“To have a Professionally Responsive NA in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles, the NA troops need to be prepared and equipped with requisite skills in order to professionally and effectively respond to these challenges and security threats in collaboration with Nigerian Police and other para-military organisation,” he added.
He asked that all Nigerians should contribute to the security of the nation. He said: “Let me use this opportunity to call on the good people of our great nation Nigeria to provide our men and women in uniform adequate support especially timely information to enable them deliver on the mandate of Exercise EGWU EKE III.”
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Nigerian Army in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the country.
He said with the flag off Egwu Eke III, the Army will start the exercise from the six geopolitical zones of the country from 1 Jan to 28 Feb 19.
The Army Chief also used the opportunity to reveal that the latest Boko Haram attack on Baga has be checkmated and normalcy returned to the area.
He insisted that the area not at anytime held by the terrorist group as the military was able to ward off the threat from them.
In a related development, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has called an emergency extraordinary security meeting in Maiduguri to address the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks in the state.
The meeting is scheduled for Monday and expected at the meeting are heads of security establishments, leadership of the Civilian JTF and hunters, traditional rulers, Borno elders, the three Senators and 10 members of House of Representatives representing the state at the National Assembly, the 28 members of the State House of Assembly, selected chairmen and commissioners from local government areas affected by recent attacks, leadership of the University of Maiduguri and selected tertiary institutions, chairmen of the state chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, National Council of Women Societies and the Nigerian Legion.
The governor, in a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Isa Gusau, said the meeting would be held at 4pm at the Government House in Maiduguri.
The statement revealed that “during the meeting, participants will review the situation in view of recent developments, make suggestions and come up with a resolution that will in writing be delivered to Buhari by a delegation, as soon as possible while the state government and other institutions that may be concerned by some aspects of the resolutions, will take necessary and immediate actions.”
The statement read that: “In the meantime, Governor Kashim Shettima has continually approved government measures to support the fight against the insurgents and to contain humanitarian needs of fellow citizens who are unfortunately affected by recent attacks.
It said the governor commiserates with all victims, and assured the people of the state that his administration is employing every available means to compliment the efforts of the federal government.
The statement recalled that Governor Kashim Shettima has on different occasions, including in recent weeks, met with President Muhammadu Buhari and other security stakeholders over matters of security in Borno State and the President has regularly showed “his empathy, commitment and determination to end the Boko Haram crisis in order to create enabling environment for the aggressive rebuilding of destroyed communities, rehabilitation and resettlement of victims which the Borno government has been carrying since 2015.”
It added that “thousands of displaced victims from 14 local government areas were, without compulsion, returned to safe and rebuilt communities in which all key public services like water installations, hospitals, schools and livelihoods were restored.”