VP Osinbajo Orders Air Force, Army Chiefs to Immediately Relocate to Borno
Following increasing reports of attacks carried out by the terrorist group Boko Haram, Nigeria’s acting president, Prof Yemi OSinbajo, has wielded some of his powers as the stand-in commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The terrorist group earlier this week abducted 10 researchers from the University of Maiduguri working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on an oil exploration mission in the Chad Basin. The group has also carried out other attacks leading to the death of many citizens in the north-east.
The acting president on Thursday directed the chief of army staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai and the chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, to immediately relocate to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
Osinbajo gave the directive after an emergency meeting with the service chiefs at which he stressed the need for them to be at the military command control centre in the hotbed of insurgency.
Also present at the emergency meeting were the Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali; the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ekwe Ite-Ibas.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in his inauguration speech in May 2015 promised to relocate the command centre of the armed forces to the north-east to decisively deal with the menace of Boko Haram.
The president subsequently issued a directive to the effect, the implementation of which is believed to have contributed to the many successes recorded against the Islamist sect which led to the federal government’s declaration of a technical defeat of Boko Haram.
Defence minister Ali while speaking to newsmen after the meeting on Thursday said it was agreed that it was necessary for the army and air force chiefs to relocate to Maiduguri to closely monitor developments on the war front.
“We have also agreed that we should get more surveillance devices, cameras that will be able to see distant attackers coming to the position of our troops,” Ali said.
The Vanguard reports that the defence minister noted that the raining season was a particularly challenging time for the fighting troops.
“We cannot dominate the environment like what we do during the dry season but efforts are geared towards regaining our areas. All these ambushes that are happening would be stopped,” the minister assured.
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