The heads of Nigeria’s Armed Forces have welcomed the Presidential Fact-finding Committee on the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, noting that the Committee, by its terms of reference, would help reveal to the world an accurate account of the mass kidnap that has roused global outrage and precipitated the offer of help from some major powers.
The Service Chiefs spoke when members of the Fact-finding Committee held an intensive interaction with the top brass of the military in Abuja on Wednesday.
Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh thanked members of the Committee for taking on the assignment. “It will give us respite if you are able to get to the root of all that has happened,” he said.
According to Air Chief Marshal Badeh, “Everybody thinks this war is for the military alone; no. It is a war for all of us.” He stressed that, “soldiers don’t fight wars on their own. It’s a nation that goes to war.”
He expressed the hope that with current efforts and support, “we shall win the war (on terror), and bring back our girls.”
The Service Chiefs — Army, Navy, and Air Force — dispelled insinuations that had been rife over the abduction and terror in general. Such insinuations concern the armoury and fire power of the terrorists, the morale of Nigerian trooops, as well as operational deployment of troops.
The military top brass explained their rules of engagement, and related issues of appropriate firepower in situations which terrorism presents within Nigerian territory where there is civilian population.
While thanking the Service Chiefs for the insight provided, the Fact-finding Committee Chairman, Gen. Sabo (rtd), frowned at the disparagement of the country’s armed forces, and commiserated with the Services on the personnel losses suffered in the fight against terrorism.
At another meeting with the Department of State Services (DSS), its Director General, Mr Ekoenyong Ita, gave a detailed brief on the Department’s anti-terrorism efforts, which he said had led to several arrests and the bust of terror threats and plots.
He also spoke on the Chibok abduction.
The Director General dispelled the notion of inadequate intelligence gathering as a factor hindering the fight against terror. “We have gone beyond the lack of intelligence. If we didn’t have intelligence, we would not get the Nyanya bombers,” he said.
Urging Nigerians to be patient, Mr Ita gave assurance on the safe return of the abducted schoolgirls. “We will get these girls,” he said. “If we can get the people who bombed Nyanya, we will get the girls.”
Member/Spokesperson for the Presidential Fact-finding Committee
15th May, 2014