As Boko Haram holding any part of Nigeria’s territory? Yes, says Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, who claims the sect is occupying two local governments in his state.
But the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, disagrees, saying the military has routed the insurgents from every inch of the country’s land.
The governor was addressing a visiting Federal Government delegation led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Babachir David Lawal.
Lt. Gen. Buratai spoke with reporters in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
Shettima said: “They (Boko Haram) are at present controlling two local governments in Borno State; Abadam and Mobbar and they are partially in Marte.”
He added: ”At some point, Boko Haram overran 20 out of our 27 local government areas in Borno State. They overran four local government areas in Adamawa and two in Yobe.”
Lt. Gen Buratai, who spoke with reporters after addressing troops at the Headquarters of 3 Division, the Marxwel Khobe Cantonment, said: “No Boko Haram is holding any territory in Nigeria at the moment, I have not heard any Boko Haram member or leader making such claim, they are no more in control.
“We are more determined and we have more professional soldiers on the ground, we have been trained and equipped and ready to face the challenge, if any, posed by Boko Haram”.
On the December deadline given the military by President Muhammadu Buhari to stamp out Boko Haram, the army boss said: “I can confidently say we are on course, we are mindful of our target, and we know we have two months to achieve that target. We don’t have doubt in our minds, we will achieve our target by December 31.”
The army boss told the troops said he was in Jos on a familiarisation visit and to acquaint the troops with his vision to reposition the Army following his appointment aa service chief
The troops bombarded the army boss with complaints mostly on welfare. He promised to address them.
Lt. Gen. Buratai was with the GOC,3 Division, Maj. Gen. Hassan Umaru and others.
Governor Shettima yesterday alongside Heads of the Army, Police and Department of State Service and the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi met with Imams of mosques in Maiduguri, Jere, district heads (Aja) and ward heads (Lawans) to discuss security matters aimed at developing fresh strategies to prevent recent tricks deployed by Boko Haram insurgents who attack worshippers at predawn prayers at mosques in Maiduguri.
The General Officer Commanding the 7th Division of the Army in Maiduguri, the Police Commissioner and the Director of the DSS attended.
Governor Shettima told them that similar meetings would be held by the emirs of Biu and Shani with imams in local government areas not yet under attack so that worshippers would not be taken unawares. Shettima said while the Imams lead worshippers during congregational prayers and also head management of various mosques, ward heads are required to ensure that worshippers in every mosque across the over 30 wards in Maiduguri, Jere and surrounding areas adhere strictly to the resolutions reached at the meeting to enhance community policing.