Boko Haram: Nigerian Army moves conference from Benin to Maiduguri
President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Edo on Tuesday may have been cancelled as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference, initially billed to hold in Benin City has been shifted to Maiduguri, Borno State.
President Buhari’s aide on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, confirmed this development on his tweeter handle on Sunday evening.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to declare the COAS Annual Conference on Nov. 28, 2018 at the Conference Hall CGH in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“The conference was earlier scheduled to take place from 26 -28 November 2018 in Benin, Edo State.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that arrangements had been completed by Edo State Government to host President Buhari on November 27 where he was billed to inaugurate the Edo-Azura Power Plant and grace the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference.
NAN gathered that the shifting of the conference from Benin City to Maiduguri might not be unconnected with the killing of Nigerian soldiers at Metele, a remote village bordering Nigeria and Chad.
NAN learnt that President Buhari would use the opportunity of the COAS conference to address the Nigerian soldiers at the battlefields to further boost their morale.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had on Sunday presided over a meeting of security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as part of the ongoing efforts to engage military and intelligence community towards addressing Boko Haram insurgency.
In a tweet in Abuja on Sunday, Mr Ahmad, said all the service chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim and the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi were part of the meeting.
“All the Service Chiefs, I-G of Police and DG of DSS were at the State House this morning. As President Buhari said (Saturday) yesterday, in the coming days, he will be engaging the Military and Intelligence Chiefs in extensive discussions on the next steps we shall be taking,’’ Mr Ahmad said.
President Buhari had pledged on Saturday to ensure that the loopholes, which led to the fatalities are blocked once and for all.
On 18 November, the Al Barnawi faction of Boko Haram attack the 157 Task Force Battalion based at Metele in northern part of Borno state, killing scores of Nigerian troops.
The military authorities are yet to give the specific number of casualties.
Mr Buhari in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in Abuja on Saturday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to the security of military personnel and other citizens.
“No responsible Commander-in-Chief would rest on his oars or fold his hands to allow terrorists to endanger the lives of military personnel and other citizens,” Mr Shehu quoted the president as saying.
“Our loyal forces have proved their strength over the terrorists and we are ready to give them all the needed support, in terms of equipment and manpower, to succeed in ending the renewed threat.
“In the coming days, I am engaging the military and Intelligence Chiefs in extensive discussions on the next steps we shall be taking.”
The president noted that fighting terrorism had taken a global dimension, which necessitated international collaboration among states facing similar security challenges.