All local government councils in North-eastern Nigeria have been liberated from the stronghold of the Boko Haram sect, the Nigerian Army has said.
The Army said this in a press statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations of Operation Lafiya Dole, Onyema Nwachukwu, in response to a claim by top northern politician, Buba Galadima.
In an interview published in the Guardian newspaper of September 21, Mr. Galadima had said that there are 27 local governments in Borno State but not all are functioning because of the activities of Boko Haram.
”At least seven of them (local councils) are still under the control of Boko Haram”, he said.
Reacting, however, the army refuted the statement saying it was an attempt to propagate falsehood and misinform the public on the true security situation in the North-east.
Listing its major operations in the region, the army noted that the perspective of Mr Galadima is that ”of one who is evidently detached from the realities of the counter-terrorism cum counter-insurgency operations in the North-east.”
“These Local Government Areas have been liberated by troops of operation Lafiya Dole and the troops have continued to ensure security in these areas after routing out the insurgents. As a matter of fact, locals have been encouraged to return to their communities to resume their vocations and normal life.
“It may perhaps be needful to refresh memories by recalling that prior to the inauguration of Operations Lafiya Dole, the entire North-east was infested with Boko Haram terrorists, who became emboldened to the extent of declaring a caliphate with headquarters in Gwoza town.
“All that became history as the gallant troops of Operation Lafiya Dole came into the theatre, gradually but steadily decimating the insurgents and liberating held territories in a series of well-planned and coordinated joint ground and air operations.
“One of such major operations was the Operation RESCUE FINALE, which routed the insurgents out of its tactical headquarters in Camp Zero in Sambisa forest and out of its so-called spiritual headquarters in Alargarno. Ever since, Operation Lafiya Dole has continued to relentlessly conduct several other operations such as Operation DEEP PUNCH, CHIKIN GUDU Operation and Operation RAWAN KADA alongside the Multinational Joint Task Force”, the statement read in part.
Giving updates, the army said that Operation Lafiya Dole has resolved to carry out precursor operations that will lead to finally putting an end to the insurgency in the North-east.
It noted Boko Haram has been incapacitated by the army and remaining members of the sect are on their heels making it impossible for them to lay hold on any council.
“Needless to add, that a group of insurgents on the run cannot hold or control any territory. Boko Haram lacks the capability to hold any territory in the North-east, hence its mindless attack on innocent and vulnerable civilians with suicide bombings, most of which were made unsuccessful by our vigilant troops.
“While not attempting to dismiss the fact that as the fleeing faceless insurgents rummage for logistical replenishment, they occasionally mix up with unsuspecting locals and thereafter attack them.
“This definitely cannot be described as holding territory, rather, it only simply underscores the need for other relevant agencies to do more to ensure a progressive reintegration of the locals into their various communities.