President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday made a surprise visit to some territories recently recovered from members of the Boko Haram sect by the Nigerian troops in Adamawa and Borno states.
The Presidency in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, described the visit, that took Jonathan to Mubi in Adamawa State and Baga in Borno State among others, as an on-the-spot assessment of efforts of the military and morale booster for the troops.
According to Abati, in the two towns recently recovered, Jonathan, who was dressed in full military camouflage, applauded the Nigerian troops for proving their mettle once again through the rapid recapture of the territories formerly held by insurgents in the country’s north-eastern states.
The presidential spokesman quoted Jonathan as telling the officers and men of the Nigerian Army in both towns that he and all Nigerians were very proud of the bravery, competence and patriotism with which they were now undertaking operations to expel the insurgents from all parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
He further quoted the President as saying that with their recent successes, which had overwhelmingly turned the tide against Boko Haram, the Nigerian military had proven beyond any doubt that it remained fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
He added that Jonathan also told them that their recent victories against Boko Haram had also proven conclusively that all those, within and outside the country, who cast aspersions on Nigerian soldiers and questioned their ability and willingness to overcome the insurgents were misinformed and wrong.
The statement read in part, “President Jonathan, who was accompanied on the trip by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and all the Service Chiefs, assured the troops that the Federal Government will ensure that they receive all the equipment and logistics they require to complete the ongoing mission to reassert the government’s effective control over all the areas formerly held by Boko Haram.
“The President promised the soldiers that all issues pertaining to their welfare will be properly and expeditiously addressed.
“He assured them that they will be duly rewarded for their bravery and patriotic service to the nation at the successful conclusion of ongoing operations against Boko Haram.
“Families of soldiers who have sadly lost their lives in battles against Boko Haram will also be well provided for, the President further assured the troops.”
Abati said the excited soldiers responded to the President’s address with chants of “Never Again” and assured him that insurgents and terrorists will never again be allowed to take and hold any Nigerian territory.
He said while in Mubi, Jonathan, accompanied by the Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Bala Ngilari, and the Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Bonni Haruna, paid a courtesy call on the Emir, Alhaji Isa Ahmadu.
He further quoted the President as assuring the Emir that the Federal Government will do all within its powers to ensure that normalcy was speedily returned to Mubi and other towns and settlements recently recaptured from Boko Haram to enable displaced persons to return to their homes in the shortest possible time.
He said Jonathan also undertook an aerial inspection of other towns and areas recently recaptured from Boko Haram including Monguno.
Before returning to Abuja, Abati added that the President met and conferred with the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, in Maiduguri.
It will be recalled that Jonathan had on January 15 paid a similar surprise visit to Maiduguri, Borno State believed to be the stronghold of the sect.[Punch]