The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major-General Tukur Buratai was in Borno State on Sunday in continuation of his tour of troops and facilities in the volatile northeast Nigeria.
The army chief, who has been in the northeast since Thursday, visited troops in Konduga town of Borno State Sunday where he renamed the ongoing counter-insurgency effort from Operation Zaman Lafiya to Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole (meaning quest for peace is a must).
The chief of army staff who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zannah Umar Mustapha and other service chiefs to 103 Battalion in Konduga, called for collaboration among the troops and other security agencies as well as the general public in curtailing the activities of Boko Haram.
Buratai emphasised that without synergy of intelligence it would be difficult to fight and defeat Boko Haram.
“The ongoing activities of Boko Haram is assuming an alarming dimension in Borno State and other parts of the Northeast; we will not tolerate the killing of citizens and destruction of property, in as much as we urged you (troops) to adhere strictly to human rights. He said the time to crush Boko Haram and other criminal activities in the country is now or never.
“As Chief of Army Staff, I will be actively involved in this ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole’ to end the madness of Boko Haram if I will have your collective maximum support and cooperation.
“My doors will always remain open to all of you for constructive criticism and advice towards restoration of peace in this part of the country.
“Therefore, we are here to identify with you and to officially inform you that as from today henceforth, we have changed our Operational Code from ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’ to ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole’, Buratai informed the troops.
Earlier in his address, the Deputy Governor thanked the Army Chief and the General Officers Commanding 7 and 3 Divisions for “taking their time to visit the state to see the gallant troops”.
He promised that “the state government will continue to support the military and other security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram that have sacked almost 22 local government areas of the state with thousands of people mostly villagers killed and millions displaced”.
The army chief later paid courtesy call on the Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Abubakar Garbai Ibn Alamin Elkanemi.
At the palace, the COAS informed the monarch since 1981 when he left Borno State as a cardet officer, ”this is my first official courtesy call since my appointment as army chief”.
He said the peace and tranquility associated with Borno will now return. He said he has been following the speeches of President Buhari on the resolve to return peace.
“We will reinforce the security. The government is not happy about the insecurity in the Northeast. It is our desire to have a responsible and professional army that is responsive in the discharge of its duty”.
“We will need the support of the royal father and the people of Borno so that we will ensure peace returns here.
“Since Boko Haram terrorists have refused peace (Zaman Lafiya), we will now force them to accept peace.”
He said further that “the peace that permeated Borno and transcend Lake Chad will soon return. My wish is to clear Konduga of Boko Haram vestiges so that people can return home to rebuild their houses.
Shehu of Borno who recalled the historical antecedents of Bornu Empire and some of the turbulent period the contemporary Borno State has gone through, said “Boko Haram was not initiated by Borno people but those who came to live from neighbouring states.”