The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, says it is on record that Nigeria recorded its highest rating in the fight against terrorism in 2022 since 2011 till date.
Yahaya said this at the opening of the Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference 2023 on Monday in Abuja.
He said the efforts in Operation Hadin Kai in synergy with the sister services and other security agencies had significantly curtailed terrorism and insurgency that hitherto bedeviled the North East part of the country.
He said the continuous injection of trained troops and special equipment through Operations Lake Sanity and Desert Sanity to complement efforts by OPHK had been rewarding.
According to Yahaya, the insurgents and terrorists no longer have freedom of action.
He added that it had amongst other benefits resulted in massive surrender by the adversaries.
He said: “These efforts, expectedly have enhanced troops poise and greatly improved the security situation and public confidence in the North East.
“In the past 11 years, from 2011 to date, Nigeria recorded its highest rating against terrorism last year, 2022.
“This is indeed a commendable effort and achievement by all of you, the other sister services, stakeholders and indeed our able predecessors.”
The COAS said the Nigerian Army was channeling more efforts towards consolidating on the successes with a view to completely neutralise the insurgents that fail to surrender.
Yahaya said that the outcome of the 2022 COAS Annual Conference in the North West region of the country had created the necessary impact that had continued to improve the success of army operations in the region.
He said the intensified offensive operations to eliminate bandits and other criminal elements in the regions had also yielded positive results.
According to him, the Nigerian Army troops deployed for Operations Hadarin Daji and Forest Sanity have projected forces and intensified offensives to clear bandit enclaves.
He added: “These operations have destroyed criminal hideouts, neutralsed several bandits and subjected the remaining elements to situations where they are mostly either targeting civilians or on the run.
“We must therefore maintain the tempo and leave no stone unturned to sustain these commendable efforts.
“The peaceful conduct of the last general elections across the country including in spite of the sense of insecurity created by criminal elements in the South East region, was a testament to army’s resolve to ensure security in the nation.
“This, according to him, was made possible through successful conduct of Operation Safe Conduct 2023 across the nation which saw the Nigerian Army along with the other services and agencies ensuring successful general elections.’’
Yahaya said additional efforts through Joint Task Force Operation UDOKA paid off in the South East.
He said this had resulted in successful elections in the region though the Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network and their supporters had threatened that there would be no elections in the zone.
He said: “The elections or no election neither IPOB nor ESN nor any other group of individuals should threaten the integrity of this nation as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Accordingly, elections were therefore held in the South East and successfully too, just like in other parts of the country.
“Generally, our operations and decisive actions against the criminal elements have impacted positively on the security situation in the region, giving confidence to law abiding citizens in the South East.
“The Nigerian army will continue to perform its constitutional roles in collaboration with the sister services and other security agencies as well as civil authorities in the region.”
The COAS commended personal over their professional conduct and apolitical disposition as well as their strict adherence to his directives and guidance during the just concluded general elections.
Yahaya said that various groups, organisations and distinguished individuals had commended troops’ efforts during the elections.
According to him, concerted efforts, commitments and dedication to duty by field commanders, officers and soldiers to ensure successes in various operations across the country are also commendable.
Yahaya urged participants of the conference to make deliberate efforts to come up with genuine and frank opinions and suggestions, as well as painstakingly evaluate the ongoing operations.
He also directed that deliberations should be focused on achieving the overall objective of better re-positioning the Nigerian army to deliver on its constitutional roles.
The Chief of Policy and Plans (Army), Major General Anthony Omozoje, said the conference was designed to consolidate on the successes attained so far in all army activities.
Omozoje said that conscious efforts would be made to painstakingly appraise all operations with a view to finding better ways of improving on their successes.
According to him, the interactions therefore would focus on achieving the overall objective of better re-positioning the Nigerian army to deliver on its constitutional roles.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the COAS used the event to present a Toyota Hilux vehicle each to 14 deserving Army Warrant Officers as their official vehicles.
Yahaya also unveiled some locally produced Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles manufactured by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria and partners for army operations as well as inauguration of an Historical Park.