- Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I am delighted to welcome you again to the Defence Headquarters for updates on the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Though you may not have heard much from us in the past few months in terms of operational efforts of the military and other security agencies; I must state that, a lot have been going on in the various theatres of operations across the country. Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs have conducted several operational visits to the various theatres of operation. They have been interacting with commanders, troops and other stakeholders in various theatres. Also, a Security Summit was held in March 2021 at the National Defence College with relevant stakeholders in attendance. In accordance with the theme, the Summit was aimed at promoting understanding and collaboration of stakeholders and key players on the kinetic approach that is expected to facilitate public support for kinetic action in Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency (CTCOIN) operations in Nigeria. Furthermore, the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs also visited the 6 geo-political zones and had consultations with Government Officials, traditional and religious leaders and various interest groups for the purpose of sensitization on the current security challenges facing the country. These engagements were aimed at ensuring that the Military High Command comes up with improved ways and means of tackling the myriad of security challenges across the Country in partnership with other stakeholders.
- In the same vein, on 5 May 2021, the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs had interaction with senior media executives in “Open Ears Press Dialogue”. As you are aware, some topical security issues were enumerated and discussed extensively during the interaction with the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs. Sequel to that, we are now resuming our usual updates on the unrelenting and committed efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in tackling security challenges facing our dear nation. Today’s update will cover the combined operational efforts of the land, maritime and air components across the country between 1 and 20 May 2021. These operational efforts of the Nigerian military are intended to achieve sustainable peace and to ensure normalcy returns to all troubled zones of our dear Country.
- Within the period in focus, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria remained resolute in their operations and engaged in series of kinetic and non-kinetic operations in all theatres of major and subsidiary operations. We have also worked cooperatively and in great synergy with other security and intelligence agencies to gain several successful and credible outcomes in our operations. For land operations, our gallant troops have been actively engaged in constant clearance patrols, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments. In the maritime environment, troops conducted various operations involving anti-piracy, anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-crude oil theft, anti-pipeline vandalism and anti-smuggling operations. Moreover, the Air Component conducted comprehensive air operations, which included air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support for ground troops.
- As a result of these operations, our troops neutralized scores of terrorists and bandits including senior BHT/ISWAP and ESN commanders as well as major bandit leaders. Similarly, many of their fighters were incapacitated and their camps destroyed through artillery and air bombardments. Additionally, troops rescued several kidnapped victims and arrested bandits/kidnappers informants and collaborators in different parts of the country. Our operations also inhibited activities of economic saboteurs as well as exposed and forestalled other criminal activities. Troops also recovered large caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment, vehicles and livestock within the period. In the maritime domain, troops disrupted smuggling activities, immobilized illegal refining sites, arrested some perpetrators, seized illegally imported rice and other contraband goods as well as recovered petroleum products. Although some of our personnel paid the supreme price in the course of these operations, our dogged troops consistently demonstrated gallantry and resilience.
- You are also aware that the Military High Command has renamed the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North East from Operation LAFIYA DOLE to Operation HADIN KAI. This was done to reflect the renewed spirit of jointness in the North East operational environment. The combined efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies demonstrate our commitment, synergy and determination to lay down our lives to protect our great Nation. We will continue to sustain the offensive posture and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria. The general public is also assured of our commitment to protect our economic assets anywhere.
- As you know, security is everybody’s concern, thus, we encourage every well-meaning Nigerian to support the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies, by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements to address the threats. The plans and efforts of the criminal elements to perpetrate nefarious activities so as to discredit the government and efforts of security forces will in no way deter us from sustaining the tempo of operations. The High Command of the Nigerian Military wishes to thank the general public for their support and further solicit their cooperation in the fight against criminality in the Country. The Military High Command also commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their resilience, doggedness and commitment. Once again, I thank you members of the Press for your continued understanding and support to the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
20 May 2021
Defence Media Operations