President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday charged the new heads of the Nigerian military to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents within three months.
The president made the call when he swore-in the new service chiefs in Abuja . The decorated service chiefs – General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin , Chief of Defence Staff; Lt-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 appointed on July 13 and confirmed by the Senate on August 4.
Mr. Buhari, who was joined by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, charged the new military chiefs to brace up to the challenge of the insurgency.
Apart from asking the soldiers to resolving the insurgency in three months, the president also charged them to ensure that armed banditry, kidnapping, and other forms of criminality are phased out within this 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”.
The president also charged the military chiefs to be accountable for both the men and equipment placed under their command, in the course of carrying out their assignment.
“Your troops welfare must be uppermost in your mind, take care of them and make available what is due to them, ” he said, promising that his administration would provide all the resources the soldiers need to succeed.
Mr. Buhari asked the service chiefs to re-professionalise the military and ensure troops are well trained and equipped before going to battle.
“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.”
The president urged the military chiefs to “get back to work and make Nigerians proud.”
Mr. Buhari, who appointed the new military chiefs after he dismissed their predecessors, said he considered only merit in making the appointments.
“Therefore 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 honour done to you,” he said.
Almost 20,000 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency began in North-eastern Nigeria in 2009.