Buratai: This Valiant Soldier Must Be Allowed To Finish The Battle




By Abdulkareem Haruna
The Boko Haram insurgency has in the last five years made
me a momentary war-reporter which invariably brought me
closer to the soldiers of the Nigeria Army more than ever
before. And during my stint as a Northeast Nigeria Bureau
Chief for my former organisation (Leadership Newspaper),
even  before I was later promoted to Assistant Editor and
Chief Defence Correspondent in late 2015, I was able to
understand the inner-workings of the Nigeria military -
particularly the Nigeria Army, which of course has been the
flagship of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations.
Since 2011 that the Boko Haram insurgency assumed its
current hostile stance and continued to ravage the northeast
Nigeria in its wild thirst for blood and wanton arson, I have
seen how Nigeria as a country was left almost at the mercy
of the insurgents who unleashed unprecedented terror on
citizens. I have seen situations where soldiers of the Nigeria
military had to flee because they lacked requisite weaponry
to match the so-called sophistication of Boko Haram.
In the past six years, I have seen how soldiers of the Nigeria
army were taken to the slaughters simply because someone
somewhere has either not given the right order or provided
the correct munition for solders to tackle the outlawed group
head on.
Nigerians were reduced to a situation where they rather seek
poetic justice than counting on their own security forces for
protection as everyone lost hope that the nation’s soldiers
would ever salvage the country that has almost lost one-
quarter of its territory to the Boko Haram.
I have reported on daily basis between 2012 and 2014 how
Boko Haram fighters would killed dozens of persons every
day.
Barracks were attacked, armouries were looted,
communities were sacked and seized, 26 local government
headquarters in the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno
and Yobe fell under the control of Boko Haram; millions of
residents especially women and children were displaced,
while hundreds of thousands of corpses litter sacked
communities - unburied.
I have reported how soldiers became helpless as young men
and girls were turned into human landmines, blowing
themselves up happily as though their lives were only a
copy of what they destroy. Markets, bus stations and
schools were turned into potential spots for suicide
bombings.
I have reported tales of how Boko Haram moved from
community to villages on convoys of trucks and armoured
vehicles, seized from soldiers, in commando style; how
every attacked community is left in flames and corpses of
helpless and hapless villagers who refused to join the ‘War
of God’ (as Boko Haram chieftains would call it) are left with
their heads on their chests, while their wives and children
who were not fit enough for abduction would have to walk
over blood of their killed parents and husbands, crying and
calling for help, that might never come.
I have seen how 219 schoolgirls were flocked out of their
dormitories and taken to destination-unknown and not a
single one of them were found until two years after when
one appeared with a baby on her back.
I have seen how Nigeria as a nation became a mockery of
its slogan “the giant of Africa”. And how citizens have now
surrendered to faith in their collective despair that all may
no longer be the same again.
I have seen how various chief of different military services
would rather visit Maiduguri, the headquarters of the Boko
Haram war for an hour or two and jet back to Abuja, than
risking their enriched lives to visit the nearest military
formation in the frontline to see how the troops were faring.
I have seen how soldiers went against the ethos of their
callings to stage a mutiny against their commanding
officers; and I saw how many of them were dealt with in
spite the civil populace’s justification for their infamous act.



General Buratai and Major Gen. Irabor Breaking Fast In
Soldiers
Trench Konduga on Monday July 5th

I have reported on how anarchy seized the North of Nigeria
and citizens began to ask in their troubled heart that “where
is our God?”
Even I, had lost hope.
Then suddenly the guards changed at the national helms of
affairs  and a new government led by a retired army General
had to make changes in the way and manner things were
ran in the nations military system.
The New President hit the ground running by issuing a
matching order to the new set of Service chiefs.
The new President, Muhammadu Buhari said “the military
command and control centre should be relocated to
Maiduguri and to remain there until Boko Haram is
completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated
Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other
innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.”
Many perfunctory appointments were made to change the
situation in the Nigeria military; but one of them stood out -
the emergence of the then Commander, Multinational Joint
Task Force, Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, as the new
Chief of Army Staff. Even before his official decoration as a
Lieutenant General, Buratai was able to show what could
best be described as rare gallantry ever exhibited in the
recorded history of the Nigeria Army. He led the war against
insurgency from the front.
Though many may have said General Buratai was
leveraging on the fact that he is from Borno state by taking
the war to the insurgents’ den, but records have shown that
quite a large number of officers and men of the Nigeria
Army, and even the police and other sister paramilitary
organisations that were of Borno descent who dared to
show such bravery were either killed by Boko Haram or got
their relations in danger.
The new President had worried that before his coming on
board, the insurgents had “through official bungling,
negligence, complacency or collusion Boko Haram became
a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and
capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of
Nigerian sovereign territory.”
When he paid his first visit and COAS to the northeast,
Buratai wowed the world by leading a gallant troops of
soldiers of the Nigeria Army through the Damaturu-Gujba
road, which was known then as a death trap of Boko
Haram. Traveling on that lethal road that was laced with
landlines, the General supervised an encounter with Boko
Haram until he made it through to Biu, his home local
government. That singular act of rare bravery of a very
senior army officer was a turning point for all. Troops
became inspired, Boko Haram became disoriented; and the
country’s waned hopes suddenly sparked back to life.
The Army General did not only come to change the tone of
the counterinsurgency operation in the northeast, he had
also brought with him a new charge for the army in his
vision statements, which is to “to have a professionally
responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its
constitutional roles”.
General Buratai had upon assuming office as the number-
one land soldier in the country, told troops during his first
visit to Borno and Yobe state that under his command “the
era of waiting in defensive position for criminals to come
and attack and runaway must stop. We must take the battle
to them and dislodge them wherever they are.
“In line with these, we must learn to adopt offensive
disposition and respond quickly and appropriately to all
situations, taking into cognisance our rules of engagement.
“In view of our current challenges, our primary assignment
in contributing our quota to national service is in line with
my vision to strive towards eradicating the menace of
terrorism from our nation.”
“During my tenure as chief of army staff, training in all
aspects of our professional duties would be accorded its
rightful place in line with my vision for the Nigerian Army to
have a professionally responsive army in the discharge of
its constitutional roles. “Together we shall make a
difference in our army and our nation.”
Between July 2015 to date, the COAS did not pay countless
visits to Theatre Command and Control Centre (TCCC) in
Maiduguri, he had also visited troops right in the frontline,
and even passed nights with them.
Need one recall the petrifying moments when Boko Haram
tried to attack the convoy of the Army Chief between Mafa
and Dikwa local government, at the time he was leading
some few officials of the army headquarters to visit and
pass the night in Gamboru-Ngala? Or does one recount how
Boko Haram spent the nights planting explosives on the
path with an evil mission to attack the COAS and his team
when retuning the next day? Despite these apparent threats,
the Chief, during that visit did not only relaxed and even
enjoyed a bonfire party with the soldiers he also had a one-
on-one chat with very junior soldiers during which he
allowed them about three hours of open discussion with him
to enable them directly ventilate their minds about the
operations and other related problems.
His visits to the troops in frontline has ballooned the
morales of officers and men to high heavens as gallant
soldiers renewed their commitment to root out Boko Haram
by the battle to them.
Days pushed into weeks, months and today Boko Haram
had been reduced to a pocket of criminals without having a
known conquest as the case was some 13 months ago. On
daily basis troops makes recovery, clearance of camps,
interceptions of arms cache, rescue of women and children
from captivity and killing of unyielding remaining force of
the Boko Haram. Today the situation in places like
Maiduguri and Yobe was a reversed case of the past as
residents of the cities now go to sleep with their two eyes
closed. The era of daily suicide bombing had gradually
faded out - even as pockets of isolated cases of bombings
recorded zero or no target casualty.
Just as the world began to praise the foremost soldier and
his officer and men that made all these happen, some fourth
columnists apparently not delighted by the feat of the
soldiers under the current command of the army chief,
began to sponsor some uncharitable and unfounded
allegation to smear his image.
The first of such salvos, apparently fired from the Boko
Haram sympathisers, was when a certain online publication
published some unverifiable reports that injured soldiers on
the frontline were abandoned by the Army. This was in fact
a laughable allegation ever made in the recent time because
it has been on records and published in several publications
in which the Director Army Public Relations (DAPR), Colonel
Sani Kukasheka had in his constant updates of troops
activities in the operation theatre mentioned how each
injured soldier was immediately evacuated to the hospital or
nearest military medical facilities. On several occasions
when the COAS visited the CCC in Maiduguri he takes time
out to visit wounded solders and even interact with them
with a view to hear from them, personally, what their pains
and need were. A clear example was at the Bridadier
Maimalari barracks, Maiduguri, when a certain injured
soldiers got the ears of the Army Chief and informed him of
how his allowance was stopped because he was no longer
in the field. General Buratai who was not pleased with such
information gave a marching order there and then by asking
those concerned to pay him all the arrears owed him there
and then. And the solder got his pay in less than two
hours!.
The latest smear allegation against the COAS, which, of
course, has spurred me to write this piece was the Saharan
Reporters allegations that the Chief of Army Staff has
acquired a property in Dubai through funds he  got from
some certain contract when he was Army’s ‘Director of
Procurement’. Luckily when Colonel Kukasheka issued out
his prompt rebuttal that eventually rubbished all the claims
made by Saharan Reporters, it ended up exposing how
fictitious the report and its allegation were. The gaping holes
in that report could be used by even a camel. The report
claimed it was exposing how Buratai and his wives bought a
property in Dubai; but sadly the army chief had severally
quoted such property in his asset declaration form when he
was being appointed as Commander MNJTF and COAS
respectively. The malicious report and the sponsors of it,
had in their blind resolve to bring down a patriotic soldier -
at all cost, threw caution to the winds and flagrantly jettison
their professional ethos which emphasises factual
reporting, claimed General Buratai was in 2013 a director of
procurement at the army headquarters, when in actual
sense, such an office never existed; more so, he was never
at the army headquarters at that time. The publication
further reported that under the command of the COAS used
vehicles and motorcycles were bought and deployed for use
by soldiers in the war front. Though I have seen and even
inspected some of the motorcycles when the Chief of Army
Staff commissioned early this year, I was really fascinated
by the response of the Theatre Commander, Operation
Lafiya Dole who contributed in rubbishing the Sahara
Reporter publication.



“For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief of Army Staff
(COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, since assumption of
office, has taken the affairs of Op LAFIYA DOLE to a level
that showed unparalleled commitment to the operational
effectiveness and good welfare of troops. For example,
between January till now, the COAS has provided various
quantities of ammunition types, vehicles and other
equipment in the Theatre. He has equally provided uniforms
and boots for all the troops in Op LAFIYA DOLE. The
payment of allowances and other requirements have been
regular and in most cases, up-front. The COAS’ regular
visits to the frontline are well known to all. The aggregate
impact of the efforts is the huge operational successes
being recorded in the Theatre. The morale of troops has
equally risen to a level that was never witnessed in the
past.
“The (Sahara Reporters) report imputed that the motorcycles
inducted into Op LAFIYA DOLE and employed by the
Motorcycle Battalion, were used and refurbished”, said
Major General Irabor. “What a sad tale of lies! When a report
of that nature was received earlier, the COAS instituted a
high-powered investigation by Military Police. The findings
of the investigation team revealed that the motorcycles were
brand new and were delivered in crates as knocked-down-
parts. The technicians who fixed some of them, failed to
tighten some knots firmly which was later rectified. Ever
since, the motorcycles have proven useful in various
operations.
“The Motorcycle Battalion comprises trained counter-
terrorist personnel, skilled in the use of motorcycles to
enhance the capability of own forces to patrol, block routes,
picket and pursue any remnants of the BHTs who usually
use motorcycles in terrains where four-wheel vehicles
cannot manoeuvre. So, this has proved successful in the
last major major Operation CRACK DOWN which has
practically brought to an end the activities of the BHTs
particularly along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu and Damaturu-
Buni Yadi Biu roads, which were opened to the public earlier
in the year.
“I consider this publication as part of the concerted,
organised terrorist strategy to distract our winning spirit in
the war against BHT. We will not lose traction. That is our
resolve. All officers and soldiers in Op LAFIYA DOLE are
committed and dogged in this resolve.
“I call on all well-meaning Nigerians, especially those who
reside in the North East, being the direct beneficiaries of the
great gains made by troops of Op LAFIYA DOLE under the
firm direction of COAS, Lt Gen TY Buratai, to condemn this
siege on their conscience. I call you to condemn this callous
and irresponsible act. The publication is an attack on the
good efforts by the troops of Op LAFIYA DOLE. It should be
resisted in its entirety and with the endowments at our
disposal.
But my take is not even in the justified and verifiable
defence put up on behalf of the COAS.
My worries is on how small the minds of some people have
become as they continue to scratch for anything around just
to dent the image of a working army officer under whose
command, in less than a year, has reduced a once perceived
‘powerful’ Boko Haram to nothing.
Each time I go through the calumnious allegations, one
question keeps coming to my mind: “So what, if Buratai
should own an apartment in Dubai’.
What is the big deal with that???
The smear campaigners did not say he owns fleet of
estates in Dubai; but just an apartment. To those who are
acquainted with how property investment marketers, like
the First Group, inter alia, usually accost people in high
profile hotel lobbies in Abuja, pressing for an investment in
some property in Dubai, then celebrating the ‘exposure’ of
an Army Chief’s property in Dubai is highly laughable. As far
as Dubai is concerned, anybody, including even a small time
entrepreneur, could easily invest in a property or an
apartment in Dubai - talk more of a highly placed Army
officer like the Chief of Army Staff!!!
Besides, the last time I checked, there was no place under
the Nigerian laws guiding public service where it was stated
that a public servant within or without the military circle
cannot invest his earnings in any legitimate business
anywhere in the world.
Interestingly, the Army Chief, whom we all fear might be
distracted by such unfounded and vexatious campaign of
calumny, had remained focussed and unshaken by the
antics of those whom the daily defeat of Boko Haram
insurgents is putting them out of business or gradually
sweeping away the sands that covered their complicity in
the whole crisis that have claimed over 200, 000 innocent
lives and displaced well over two million people.
While we urge the gallant Army Chief to carry on with his
good job, Nigerians must send a clear message to these
army of detractors that General Buratai must be left alone
so that he could finish the good job he is doing!
General Buratai Cutting the Tape To Reopen Liberated
Damaturu-Biu Highway


“For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief of Army Staff
(COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, since assumption of
office, has taken the affairs of Op LAFIYA DOLE to a level
that showed unparalleled commitment to the operational
effectiveness and good welfare of troops. For example,
between January till now, the COAS has provided various
quantities of ammunition types, vehicles and other
equipment in the Theatre. He has equally provided uniforms
and boots for all the troops in Op LAFIYA DOLE. The
payment of allowances and other requirements have been
regular and in most cases, up-front. The COAS’ regular
visits to the frontline are well known to all. The aggregate
impact of the efforts is the huge operational successes
being recorded in the Theatre. The morale of troops has
equally risen to a level that was never witnessed in the
past.
“The (Sahara Reporters) report imputed that the motorcycles
inducted into Op LAFIYA DOLE and employed by the
Motorcycle Battalion, were used and refurbished”, said
Major General Irabor. “What a sad tale of lies! When a report
of that nature was received earlier, the COAS instituted a
high-powered investigation by Military Police. The findings
of the investigation team revealed that the motorcycles were
brand new and were delivered in crates as knocked-down-
parts. The technicians who fixed some of them, failed to
tighten some knots firmly which was later rectified. Ever
since, the motorcycles have proven useful in various
operations.
“The Motorcycle Battalion comprises trained counter-
terrorist personnel, skilled in the use of motorcycles to
enhance the capability of own forces to patrol, block routes,
picket and pursue any remnants of the BHTs who usually
use motorcycles in terrains where four-wheel vehicles
cannot manoeuvre. So, this has proved successful in the
last major major Operation CRACK DOWN which has
practically brought to an end the activities of the BHTs
particularly along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu and Damaturu-
Buni Yadi Biu roads, which were opened to the public earlier
in the year.
“I consider this publication as part of the concerted,
organised terrorist strategy to distract our winning spirit in
the war against BHT. We will not lose traction. That is our
resolve. All officers and soldiers in Op LAFIYA DOLE are
committed and dogged in this resolve.
“I call on all well-meaning Nigerians, especially those who
reside in the North East, being the direct beneficiaries of the
great gains made by troops of Op LAFIYA DOLE under the
firm direction of COAS, Lt Gen TY Buratai, to condemn this
siege on their conscience. I call you to condemn this callous
and irresponsible act. The publication is an attack on the
good efforts by the troops of Op LAFIYA DOLE. It should be
resisted in its entirety and with the endowments at our
disposal.
But my take is not even in the justified and verifiable
defence put up on behalf of the COAS.
My worries is on how small the minds of some people have
become as they continue to scratch for anything around just
to dent the image of a working army officer under whose
command, in less than a year, has reduced a once perceived
‘powerful’ Boko Haram to nothing.
Each time I go through the calumnious allegations, one
question keeps coming to my mind: “So what, if Buratai
should own an apartment in Dubai’.
What is the big deal with that???
The smear campaigners did not say he owns fleet of
estates in Dubai; but just an apartment. To those who are
acquainted with how property investment marketers, like
the First Group, inter alia, usually accost people in high
profile hotel lobbies in Abuja, pressing for an investment in
some property in Dubai, then celebrating the ‘exposure’ of
an Army Chief’s property in Dubai is highly laughable. As far
as Dubai is concerned, anybody, including even a small time
entrepreneur, could easily invest in a property or an
apartment in Dubai - talk more of a highly placed Army
officer like the Chief of Army Staff!!!
Besides, the last time I checked, there was no place under
the Nigerian laws guiding public service where it was stated
that a public servant within or without the military circle
cannot invest his earnings in any legitimate business
anywhere in the world.
Interestingly, the Army Chief, whom we all fear might be
distracted by such unfounded and vexatious campaign of
calumny, had remained focussed and unshaken by the
antics of those whom the daily defeat of Boko Haram
insurgents is putting them out of business or gradually
sweeping away the sands that covered their complicity in
the whole crisis that have claimed over 200, 000 innocent
lives and displaced well over two million people.
While we urge the gallant Army Chief to carry on with his
good job, Nigerians must send a clear message to these
army of detractors that General Buratai must be left alone
so that he could finish the good job he is doing!!

About Dunio Mabushi

0 comments:

Post a comment