Former CDS, Olonisakin has explained how the Defence Ministry recovered twenty Local Governments from Boko HARAM when he took over in 2015.

He revealed this during the handover to his successor in Abuja.

The former CDS said, “We all could recall that at the inception of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Boko Haram terrorist group held sway in parts of the North-East Nigeria, where the sect occupied 20 out of 26 local government areas in Borno State.

“Our immediate challenge on assumption of office was to flush out the Boko Haram and restore Nigeria’s sovereignty over these occupied territories. Gratefully, with the support of the political leadership and indeed all Nigerians, the Armed Forces of Nigeria, under my leadership was able to reclaim all territories that were then under the control of the Boko Haram.”

While admitting that the insurgency remained a security issue, the retired general insisted that the Armed Forces was equally engaged in assisting the government in addressing other security issues, in line with its constitutional roles.

According to him,  the various initiatives and collaborations led to the local production of some defence needs including meals-ready-to-eat, airboats, the prototype of an Improvised Explosive Devices  detector with extended range, and hand-held radios in collaboration with Satcom of Namibia.

The former CDS praised the choice of his successor, noting that he was familiar with the security challenges having previously served as Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Commander Multinational Joint Task Force and above all, the immediate past Chief of Training and Operations at the Defence Headquarters.

“There couldn’t have been a better choice of a seasoned senior officer who will hit the ground running as the Chief of Defence Staff,” he noted.

Speaking during his pulling-out parade on Friday, the outgone Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), said countering insurgents’ activities in the country was a warfare that was totally new to the Nigerian Army, adding that it took the military little time before it devised means of combating the new threats.

Buratai also insisted that he left the Nigerian Army better than he met it.

According to him, Nigerian Army under his watch has achieved tremendous feat in the fight against insurgency and other security threats in the country, maintaining that he ensured adequate training of personnel and enhancement of warfare capabilities of the army as well as prioritisation of personnel welfare.

Buratai stressed that the troops under his watch did not allow the terrorist group to hold sway in any local government area in Borno State or the North-East.

Handing over to the new Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, the immediate past CNS,  Vice Admiral I. E. Ibas, warned  Nigerian Navy personnel against conniving with illegal bunkering operators, sea robbers, oil thieves and other maritime criminals.

He called for support for Gambo to enable him to better secure the maritime sector.

In his remarks at a brief handing over ceremony, the former Chief of the Air Staff,  Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the incoming CAS, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, would add significant value to the Airforce and  urged NAF personnel to support the new Air Chief.

He said, “ I urge you all to extend even greater support to my successor, AVM Oladayo Amao, a fine senior officer, an experienced fighter pilot and an innovative leader who i believe will add significant value to what we have been able to do in the past few years.”

Copyright PUNCH.