The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has led the top echelon of the Army hierarchy and top Commanders to celebrate the 2019 West African Social Activities (WASA) and Medal Parade in dreaded Gwoza, Borno state just as he declared that the federal government is in firm control of all Nigerian territories.
The COAS also visited the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu Idris Timta, to condole him over the loss of his father, who was his predecessor.
During the visit on Sunday, December 29, 2019, he said that he was there to condole him as well as witness the Nigerian Army Medal Parade.
Buratai said: “I am here for Nigerian Army Medal Parade and Nigerian Army Social activities (WASA) 2019.
“The parade is usually organized to honour our gallant officers and soldiers who have participated in Operation Lafiya Dole and have done exceptionally well in the efforts to secure our beloved country from terrorists and this time around, we brought it to Gwoza, in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State and it’s quite symbolic because of the misadventures of the Boko Haram terrorists that were here sometime, and attempted to declare it their headquarters this is now history as they have been flushed out since and peace has returned.
“Clearly now the federal government of Nigeria is in firm control of every territory of our country and we are here to conduct this medal parade to honour our officers and soldiers who have been working tirelessly and patriotically in order to keep our country secure and united.
“Apart from the medal parade, we will use this opportunity to turn off the year 2019 and usher in the year 2020 by conducting our traditional cultural activities which we all know as the Nigerian Army Social Activities popularly know as WASA.
A statement by Col Sagir Musa, Acting Director Army Public Relations, said Buratai then condoled the Emir of Gwoza and prayed for Aljannatu Firdaus to be the final abode of the Emir’s late father while describing his death as a loss to the entire people of Gwoza, Borno State and Nigeria at large.
In his response, Emir of Gwoza said that the presence of Nigerian Army personnel in the emirate gives them the confidence to reside there.
“I have been saying if Boko Haram want to die, they should come to Gwoza. Honestly, the action of the Nigerian military motivated me and most of us to come back to my domain and stay with my people.
“I must confess that the officers that the Army send here are giving us confidence, they are doing a very nice job, they are going anywhere on patrols including the hitherto dreaded Sambisa forest, ” he said.
Speaking further, he said that the issue of insurgency is not a one-man affair, but requires everybody’s attention.
“Yes they were defeated, they were sent packing and they were degraded badly, that they had to go on the run. Initially, we are the ones running but now they are the ones running”, he said.
He hailed the Nigerian Army for community service rendered to boost military/civil relationship in the emirate.
“I praise our gallant officers here in Gwoza. They have cleared my own farmhouse land in Jaji. I must commend the Nigerian army because of the relationship with them and my people is very cordial, we are working as a family.
“Initially, Gwoza is the headquarters of Boko Haram because of the terrain of this place, we are in the middle of the Sambisa Forest in the Western part, the Mandara Mountain, the hidden area of the Boko Haram in the Eastern part.
“Definitely they have been degraded that they will not be able to fight even our hunters with the complete support of the Nigerian military,” he said.
The Emir advised the Army to engage local hunters who know the terrain to guide them in their patrols.
“But we need more because the terrain of the mountain cannot be succeeded without an indigenous person that will show the hidden places.
“In the mountain, there are many caves, the Nigerian military alone cannot be able to achieve this because they don’t know the terrain but I believe if one of the Nigerian Army will know this terrain, Boko Haram will have become a thing of history,” he advised.