Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin has called on Nigerians to appreciate their armed forces more in view of the unprecedented commitment and loyalty troops have made in paying the supreme sacrifices towards keeping the nation together.
Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brigadier General John Agim who relayed the call of the CDS at his maiden interactive session with the media in Abuja, explained that it is the belief of General Olonisakin that if Nigerians for whom military personnel have been fighting in various theaters of operation including terrorism, militancy, cattle rusting, banditry show commensurate appreciation, the sky would be the limit for the armed forces.
According to the Acting DDI, “The time has come for the citizens to reflect and appreciate the sacrifices of its military. In all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, the military have a standby force which goes by different names. The situation in the country is such that if the military withdraws in some states, the economy of such places would be in crisis.
“In the fight against terrorism for instances, we are living witnesses to the unprecedented and immense sacrifices the military is making to bring Boko Haram atrocities to an end. In some countries of the world including developed economies, the fight against terrorism lasted 29 years (Britain), some more than that, (Pakistan, Afghanistan) before the terrorist were checkmated. Terrorist attacks and bombings still take place there.
“But in Nigeria, the military in record time has defeated the terrorist and recovered all our territories. Right now, the terrorists are scattered, running helter-skelter. They can no longer hold territory or operate as a unit. Rather they go about using small girls as soft targets to try to prove that they are still relevant.
“If our citizens appreciate armed forces who did so much to achieve these milestones, it will embolden the armed forces to do more”.
Emphasizing that the media has a critical role to play in the war against terrorism, Brigadier General Agim said, “Professional colleagues in the Pen Profession have not done enough to understand the fight against these terrorists. You (media) should understand that ‘Publicity’ is the fuel that breeds Boko Haram ideology.
“All Boko Haram wants, is to show that they are relevant. Last December 2017 for instance, they threatened to bomb Abuja and several other states and the media went agog with the story. Were they able to do it? But they succeeded in getting the relevance they wanted. For they to hold territories like they were doing before, that can no longer happen.
Commenting on the renewed threat by Niger Delta Avengers to resume bombings and attacks on oil and gas platforms and other economic ventures in the area over government’s refusal on certain policies, the Acting DDI said the military had nothing to do with such threats to government.
“The Avengers are making such threats because they are asking for something. That question of what the Defence headquarters should do about it should go to the political masters. They are not making threats to the military but to the government.
“Except instructions come from our political masters, we don’t have anything to do with threats by Avengers or any other group.
Asked about the true origins of the origins of the rampaging Fulani Herdsmen who are responsible for hundreds of killings in the Middle Belt area in particular some say they are from outside Nigeria, Agim said, “The military cannot tell you if Fulani herdsmen are foreigners or Nigerians. That is the job of Immigration. In any operation we are involved in, ours is to restore normalcy, law and order and allow the laws take its course.
He then promised a robust working relationship between the Defence headquarters and the media particularly at this period of diverse security challenges.