COAS, Lt Gen Buratai
A renowned professor in the Religious Affairs Department of the University of Nigeria Professor Emmanuel Ome, has written a thought-provoking letter to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratia, appreciating him and his troops for their fight against insurgency in the country.
The university don, who is also a Conflict Resolution and Peace Building expert, in his letter pointed out the troops deserve all the necessary support in the battlefield.
The letter forwarded to our reporter on Sunday insisted that the Nigerian troops have decimated, decapitated and have weakened considerably the penchant of terrorists to hold our country to ransom .
Prof Ome also paid glowing tribute to the fallen heroes and heroines in the struggle to free Nigeria.
“In fact, they are dead, but alive, as they shall forever remain evergreen in our memories. The history of our country has etched their names in the Hall of Fame in gold,” he wrote.
The letter reads:
December 28, 2018.
The Nigerian Troops,
Lt Gen TY Buratai,
Dear Venerated Nigerian Troops,
“I am Deeply Proud Of You, Worthy Sentinels Of Nigeria:” An Open Letter To Nigerian Troops.
Compliments of the season to the Nigerian Army leadership and our gallant troops. I wish you and your families a happy Christmas celebration in arrears and an anticipated brand New Year.
Please permit me to say, may the joy of the season and New Year tether for us a rewarding progress in our personal lives and the final victory over the tedious national assignment of the counter-insurgency operations of Nigerian troops, who have undertaken to extricate the nation from the chains of insurrections and insurgencies.
I felt a strong urge to converse with you through the written word for special reasons. This is a season of appraisals and assessments of our personal journeys, progress of the nation and other endeavors we have undertaken in the course of the year screeching to an end.
So, it stimulated the compelling need to share my feelings or perceptions on the ongoing counter-terrorism operations anchored by the Nigerian Army and other arms of the Nigerian military through this open epistle.
It has been three and a half years since the Commander-In-Chief (C-In-C) of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, assigned you and your troops the sacred and noble duty of rescuing and redeeming our dear country, Nigeria, from the tusks of bile and consuming insurrections and terrorism.
I am excited that you embarked on this national assignment with a sense of pride, patriotism, loyalty and an irreversible commitment to invest your best in the protection of our national heritage, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Nigerian Army exuded these signs from the outset.
All of us are aware of the severity and enormity of the insecurity challenges which assailed and asphyxiated Nigeria, especially in the Northeast, where Boko Haram insurgency, which later morphed into at least, four factions held our country in choking bondage.
The satanically possessed souls freely imposed assorted atrocities and heinous crimes on our people such as reckless bombings, mass massacres, abductions, ransacking of whole communities and awful destructions to valued properties of our people and the nation.
Also, several Local Government Areas in the Northeast were under the firm control of Boko Haram insurgents who concretized their hold by establishing a strange version of Islamic Caliphate. They illegally administered an independent nation within the Nigerian state.
I know schools, banks, shopping malls and businesses were shut down in the Northeast. Our farmers were chased out of farmlands’; our children could no longer attend schools, but confined in IDPs camps; while tens of thousands of Nigerians, including women, children and the aged were held in servile hostage in multiple secret camps by Boko Haram terrorists.
Everywhere, from the Northeast to the Northwest, and down to the South, our country pitiably bled in blood, sorrows and pains of terrorism, armed banditry, militancy, armed and violent separatist agitations, herders/ farmers’ bloody clashes and hordes of other national malaises. These cumulatively threatened our survival and unity as a people and a nation.
Sir, I like to confidently say, frightening and tough as the assignments appeared, and together with sister arms of the Military, you led out troops boldly, audaciously and courageously to conquer the enemies of our nation.
It is certainly irrefutably that your military exploits have posted enduring footprints and legacies in the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria. It is not debatable that Nigeria has made tremendous progress against terrorism by breaking the bulwarks and shattering the bones of our enemies in an uncommon manner, which has stamped the sovereignty of Nigeria.
We have seen your admirable and committed battles against insurrections and terrorism, which are effective both in the trenches or the battlefield and its latest variant – Cyberspace terrorism. I am proud to be a Nigerian.
Nigerian troops have decimated and decapitated the enemy; our troops have weakened considerably the penchant of terrorists to hold our country to ransom. And the ongoing clearance operations are the final point of the extermination of these religious extremists and fanatical sects. Incontestably, Nigerians can testify that troops have considerably and significantly curtailed the devilish rampage of insurgents on Nigerians.
We know these accomplishments’ have come at a great cost to our troops and the nation. But I am excited at your firm resolution never to quiver nor shirk until the last flag or enclave of Boko Haram is pulled down to the glory of Nigeria. Nigeria is solidly behind you.
Today, when I reflect on yesterday and today in Nigeria’s battles with terrorism, it feels me with boundless joy and pride that our troops have proved their mettle as worthy soldiers and combat ambassadors of the Nigerian state.
I profoundly recollect the sacrifices every one of you has made in this sensitive struggle of liberation. I recall the excellent and cordial relationship among your teams both in the trenches and elsewhere. I am emboldened by the overt determination of troops to extract the final victory at any cost.
I am not unmindful of your enduring focus in surmounting the barriers you are encountering in the prosecution of the counter-insurgency operations. When we are soundly asleep in the comfort of our homes; you act as sentries for us to have peace and security; troops are battling in the sun and in the rain; soldiers rarely savour the pleasure or warmth of families.
When you fight through ambushes and landmines planted by the terrorists, we are working in the cozy confines of our offices. We not oblivious of these realities and indeed, share in your hardships and trauma.
But be assured of our prayers and support. I believe your labour will not be in vain. Already, I can sense the sweet scent of the final victory against terrorists like you captured Sambisa forest, which insurgents thought they could keep forever.
My dear troops, you have done this many times in the past. I remember the day you reclaimed Gambaru- Ngala, Damboa, Marte, Guzamala, Baga and several other places. It was sweet victory and Nigerians celebrated you elaborately back home.
Gen Buratai Sir, you promised Nigerians nothing less than victory against terrorists. So, today, the Nigerian entire country looks unto troops as harbingers of this victory and our Saviour. The spirit must therefore remain unbroken and stronger. From the C-in- C to the least citizen of Nigeria, all of us have placed our hopes on you and we trust, you will never disappoint us because you have never disappointed us.
Nigerians are comforted by the fact that Nigeria’s unity today is on your shoulders and we are trusting that no distraction will compel you to let us down. That’s the extent you are dear to us and our nation.
I salute Nigerian troops a million times. We are not happy celebrating another Christmas and even the New Year without you in our midst. But we are ready to set a sumptuous banquet of kings and princesses for our gallant troops any day they arrive home with the final crown and emblem of victory against terrorists. With you, we have no doubt that Nigeria must be free and soon.
Lastly, I pay glowing tribute to our fallen heroes and heroines in the struggle to free Nigeria. In fact, they are dead, but alive, as they shall forever remain evergreen in our memories. The history of our country has etched their names in the Hall of Fame in gold.