Members of the security forces carrying out operations in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States suffer minimal casualties, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, has said.
Ihejirika said this on Tuesday in Abakalili in an address at the 2013 Chief of Army Staff Second Quarter Conference.
He said: “So far, the casualty rate in the three states where a state of emergency was declared has been minimal on the part of the security forces.
“Communities closest to where these operations are being conducted are very happy that the military came to rescue them.”
The army boss urged all warring communities and militants in all parts of the country to lay down their arms to enable meaningful development to take place.
He said that one of the primary functions of the army was peacekeeping and ensuring that trouble makers were put to check.
He said the conference was an annual activity to appraise the performances of Nigerian Army formations in combating security challenges in their areas of responsibilities.
Declaring the conference open, Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State said it would enable the Nigerian army to make strategies for the future.
Elechi said the Nigerian army was the “most evident indicator of the country’s national unity”.
He said: “Here in Ebonyi, we do not have incidences of army-civilian clashes, but rather the army helps in the maintenance of peace, combat, kidnapping, armed robbery and other criminal activities.
“I want to assure the Chief of army Staff that the government and people of Ebonyi deeply appreciate these good relations and will continue to assist the army.”
The Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Army, Major General Emmanuel Bassey, said the conference would enable commanders of the various formations to discuss issues of security.
Bassey said that the security challenges facing the country called for ingenious and pro-active multi-facet approach by all Nigerians.
“The conference is expected to recommend strategies for enhancing effectiveness of tackling identified challenges,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that high points of the three-day conference include the laying of the foundation stone of the army composite ration factory.
Located at Nkwagu Military Cantonment Abakaliki, the factory is expected to cost about N500 million.
The Ebonyi State Government also handed over to the army the 648-stall mammy market built at N981 million.