By Hassan Zaggi – Abuja
The outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Keneth Minimah, has disclosed that the Nigerian Army has successfully forced Boko Haram leaders into hiding, stressing that he left the Army far better than he met it.
He stated this at the pulling out ceremony organised in his honour to signify his formal exit from the military in Abuja, on Wednesday.
He, however, expressed optimism that the days of Boko Haram sect was numbered as they no longer had the strength to intimidate the public with propaganda as it used to do.
Said Minimah: “As I settled down to work, I was confronted with a decay in the service due to long periods of neglect the Army had suffered.
“There was spate of bombings across the country. Attacks on soft targets such as civilians and vulnerable communities were on the increase.
“The Armed Forces and security agencies appeared helpless to address the situation and sadly, the nation began to lose confidence in its army and military.
“The situation was no less grim in the North-Central and North-Western zones where armed bandits, cattle rustlers and militias held sway.
“The nation seemed to be heading towards the much publicized disintegration many had predicted would occur in 2015.
“An assessment of the situation revealed that the Nigerian Army needed to harness its capabilities and optimize its capacity to deal with challenges bedevilling the nation.
“I inspired and rekindled fighting spirit in troops backed by military sanctions. I am happy to state that the story is different today, and the situation is much better than I met it. Today the country is much better than I met it.
“Today, the country is more secure and stable. The ability of Boko Haram terrorists to confront our security forces in open combat is virtually non-existent.”
He noted that if the Army is to succeed in the fight against the insurgents, it is pertinent that the government rise to the occasion by equipping the military and also boosting its morale.
“A nation is as strong as its Armed Forces and the strength of the Armed Forces is in the quality of the individual soldier and his fighting spirit.
“Fighting spirit imbues him with confidence to stand up to the adversary rather than flee like we witnessed in the recent past; while adequate attention to his welfare demonstrates his nation’s commitment to his wellbeing and motivates him to sacrifice everything, including his life, discipline and sanctions confines him with the military laws.
“Government must provide the necessary and right political environment to recruit, train, equip, kit and remunerate our service men.”