Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai has vowed that the recent killings involving three police detectives in Ibi, Taraba state by soldiers attached to the 93 Battalion would never happen again as decisive actions will be taken against all the actors involved in the incident.
The COAS who gave the assurance in what appears to be his first public statement on the matter while declaring open the combined second and third quarter Chief of Army Staff Conference 2019 at the Army Headquarters Command Officers Mess, Asokoro, Abuja, said investigations on the Taraba episode by the DHQ Joint Investigation Panel has been concluded.
Describing the Taraba killings as unfortunate and unhealthy for cooperation and collaboration among security agencies, Buratai charged Army commanders at all levels to “adhere to the rule of engagement at all times and also respect all extant laws and fundamental human rights of citizens as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution .”
Buratai said: “It is imperative that we become more proactive in ensuring the discipline and professionalism of our personnel, in our dealings with other agencies of government and indeed the larger society.
“We should all note, the Nigerian Army as part of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is mandated to support the civil authority and the Nigerian Police Force in internal security operations.
“However recent occurrences have shown that there is need for more reorientation on civil military relations and interface with cooperation at the junior cadre level.
“Unfortunately incidences such as the recent one at Ibi in Taraba state which generated intense media comments are not healthy for the smooth cooperation and operations of our security forces. Investigation of the incidence has been concluded and decisive action will be taken to ensure it never happened again.
“Similarly the recent case of a rape of a lady by soldier in 34 Brigade and the shooting of a motorcyclist by another soldier are examples of unwarranted events which we must guide against. Nigerian Army will not condone any form of indiscipline or actions that would tarnish its good image
“I hereby charge commander at all levels to continue to educate personnel on the need to adhere to the rule of engagement at all times and also respect all extant laws and fundamental human rights of citizens as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution “.
Speaking on the various military operations going on across the country, Buratai said a lot of successes have been achieved, asserting that there is however the need for officers and soldiers to be more proactive in their approaches.
He said more equipment and manpower have been deployed in the northeast to complement the ones on ground, while the Minister of Defence Major Gen. Bashir Magashir had visited the northeast to boost the morale of troops by interacting with them.
The COAS said: ” A major challenge that has continually faced Nigerian army is the ever growing issue of insecurity occassioned by global factors, those actions or factors could be traced to economic , social and political factors affecting almost all part of the world.
“In our duty to curtail some of the contemporary security challenges such as banditry , kidnapping in the north west , we lunched operation Hadin Kunama 3 in the first quarter of 2019, the operation which stand through the second and the third quarter has recorded successes in covering the rampaging activities of bandits and kidnappers.
“However, despite the successes , there are cases in Sokoto, Katsina , Kebbi and Kaduna states still occurring unfortunately , to continue to support the civil authorities , the troops employed and indeed the code man deployed has now been put into operation messa,
“We have also redefined the conduct of Operation Lafiya Dole with a new scheme of maneouver using the Super Camp concept of operation . A total of 20 Super Camp have so far been established in the Northeast and Commanders are required to key into the already circulated laid down Standard Operating Procedures and Directives .
“The concept entails the concentration of formidable fighting forces in strong holds that have the capacity for swift mobility which requires the process to be proactive , rugged and capable of taking bold alternatives at all times to defeat the adversary by denying them freedom of action within a strong response areas or response areas as the case may be.
“To support the Super Camp concept , we have inducted more man power and equipment into the theater and have planned to within the remaining days of the third quarter 2019 to deploy more troops towards achieving the desired end .
The COAS pledged the loyalty of the military to the President Muhammadu Buhari and the constitution of Nigeria, asserting that the leadership of the military is determined to make the Armed Forces of Nigeria the best.
He said ” Before I conclude we all know that the President and Commander in Chief had recently appointed Major Gen. Bashir Magashir as the new Hon Minister of Defence. I had the opportunity to brief him on the state of NA and our operations.
“Also his first official assignment has been the visit to Northeast and the Headquarters and Command of Operation Lafiya Dole to see things for himself and interact with soldiers and officers in the frontline .
“And I therefore on behalf of all of you pledge our loyalty and cooperation to make the Armed Forces of Nigeria the best they can be. I can assure you that the minister has good and lofty plans to transform the armed forces. I urge you to support him in this vision and plan.
“Finally I convey our gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his support for the Army. He has continue to demonstrate his love for the Army. The promotion of two officers is an impetus to continue to be loyal and hardworking and we shall continue to demonstrate loyality and commitment to the defence of Nigeria”.