The Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), has promised that the Federal Government would improve on the welfare of officers and soldiers of Nigerian Armed Forces to enhance their efficiency.
Magashi made the promise at a dinner organised by Nigerian Army to honour his arrival to the theatre of counter insurgency operation in Maiduguri on Saturday.
The dinner also had the leadership of Borno Elders’ Forum in attendance.
He said that President Muhammed Buhari has expressed commitment to the payment of entitlement, pension and gratuity of officers as well as kits and other operational requirements.
“I want to pass this message through the commander to the field that the commander in chief is willing to take your welfare and motivation more seriously than ever before.
“He is willing to improve your feeding, your kits, your operational requirements be it weapons or otherwise in order to give you the motivation that whatever you do the government is not unaware to reward you.
“In this regard, all those who lost their lives during this operation, we see it as sacrifice and government will do something in respect of these officers and soldiers who died in the course of this war.
“We will also make sure that entitlements of officers and soldiers are promptly paid and those retired, their pension and gratuity are well taken care of,” he said.
The minister disclosed that the northeast, especially Borno, remained the focal point of security in the country.
He added that Buhari had given a marching order that the counter insurgency operations must be executed efficiently to end insurgency in the region.
According to him, the Commander in chief has promised to give all assistance needed for the success of this operation.
“In that regard, I will vouch for my officers that they are competent and capable to carry out all the insurgency operations very squarely.
“The belief in all insurgency operations is that their tactics is to surprise you, take you unaware and create some noise that the world will see them as efficient or make their way on the people of the area per time.
“We will not allow that to continue any more, we will take the war to them and do our best in that regard.
“Very soon, the government will make all of you happy to see that once glorious Borno empire is restored to its former self,” he added.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said that the dinner was to welcome the Minister to the theatre of operation.
Buratai said that the it was also to honour the elders who their roles in the socio-economic development of the state and the country at large.
He said the elders had been very supportive to the military in its effort to carryout counter insurgency operations.
He commended Borno government for the logistic support it had given to the army and called for closer partnership in order to clear the remnant of Boko Haran insurgents in the region.
Buratai assured that the army and armed forces was ready to support the minister in his policies and programmes towards addressing the security challenges in the country.
Alhaji Ashek Jerma, Chairman of Borno Elders’ Forum and former Governor of Borno, commended the minister for the visit, adding that it reiterated government’s commitment to counter insurgency operations.
Jerma pledged that the forum would continue to give the government and the military the necessary support to resolve the insurgency activities in the state.
“From what I have seen tonight, it shows that you are much prepared to guarantee our safety,” he said.