Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the four recently sworn-in military security chiefs to defeat Boko Haram within three months. The swearing-in ceremony took place in Abuja this week.
General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Lieutenant General T.Y. Buratai, Chief of Army Staff; Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff were all appointed on July 13 and confirmed by the Senate on August 4.
Joined by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari urged the newly confirmed chiefs to not only stomp out Boko Haram but also armed banditry, kidnapping, and other forms of crime within the three month period.
“The activities of these misguided groups and individuals have resulted in wanton destruction of lives and properties of our citizens as a disruption of socio-economic lives of millions of Nigerians,” the President said.
“You need to brace up and continue to team up with other stakeholders to come up with a well coordinated joint effort which will bring a desired end to these insurgencies within three months.”
Buhari also asked the security chiefs to hold the Nigerian military to a higher standard by re-professionalizing the army. He stressed that the only way to do this is by sufficiently training and equipping their troops for service.
“You should also ensure that they abide with the newly enforced rules and relations of international standards while carrying out their assigned tasks,” he said.
“In particular you must protect innocent civilians and respect the rights of combatant. This no doubt will earn the support of local communities and the respect of our allies and support of international community.”
About 20,000 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria in 2009.
President Buhari reminded the security chiefs that he selected them because of their merit and that he expects them to prove that they deserve this honor.
“I have no doubt in my mind that all of you are equal to the task ahead of you. You must acquaint yourselves and justify the honor done to you,” he concluded.