President Muhammdau Buhari on Friday in Abuja directed the central command of the military to relocate to Maiduguri, Borno, to intensify the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.
Buhari, who gave the directive in his address after his inauguration, said it was impossible to achieve victory against the insurgents if the command continued to operate from Abuja.
He said that the command center would relocate and remain in Maiduguri until the insurgents were subdued.
He appealed for patience from Nigerians to enable his administration to settle down and face the challenges in the nation.
“My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble.
“It will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely, Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment, especially among young people.
“The most immediate is Boko Haram insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory cannot be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja.
“The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain there until Boko Haram is completely subdued,’’ Buhari said.
He, however, said that the victory would not be complete without rescuing the Chibok girls, and other innocent people held by the insurgents, alive.
Labeling the group as “ungodly”, he pledged to investigate, determine origin of the group as well as the remote and immediate causes of the movement.
He promised to uncover the sponsors of the group, their international connections and to put measures in place to forestall reoccurrence of such terrorism.
“We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.
“This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires.
“An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame following his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police.
“Since then, through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion, Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory,” he said.
‘’Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of.
“At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued the Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins and the remote and immediate causes of the movement.
“We will also determine its sponsors, the international connections and ensure that measures are taken to prevent a recurrence of this evil,’’ the president added.
He promised that the Armed Forces would be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against the insurgency by overhauling the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in their operations.
He said that the overhaul would improve operational and legal mechanisms ‘’so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces’’.
The President also promised to look into other issues of insecurity, including kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen/farmers clashes and cattle rustlings, in the country.
“We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people, friendly and well-compensated security forces within overall security architecture,’’ he stressed. (NAN)