Buratai addresses US officials in Washington on Boko Haram
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday addressed top US defence officials and policy leaders on the efforts made by the military in the fight against insurgency in the North-East.
Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview that Buratai spoke at the Africa Center of the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, United States of America.
Usman said the presentation was titled: “Nigerian Army Challenges and Priorities in the Ongoing Operations against Boko Haram Terrorists and Other Threats to Peace and Security”.
He said the presentation at the centre was part of the Army chief’s programme on his official visit to the US.
Usman said Buratai emphasised the fact that the fight against terrorism was one that concerned the entire global community and not only the countries.
He said the chief of army staff talked about addressing the issues of insecurity in Nigeria at the strategic, tactical and operational levels as well as the challenges in tackling the threat of terrorism.
Usman said the Army chief applauded the strategic leadership provided by President Buhari in the reinvigorated fight against Boko Haram.
“Buratai enumerated the Presidential strategic directive of relocating the Military Command and Control Centre from Abuja to Maiduguri, which was followed by the directive of defeating the insurgents by the end of December 2015.
“He spoke about the involvement of neighbouring countries, as well as provision of necessary arms and logistics, assisted in the defeat of the terrorists.
“ Buratai maintained his stand to undertake and sustain the current level of operations to ensure complete defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“The aim is in ensuring the safety and freedom for all abducted persons and creation of favourable environment that would permit the return of all refugees and internally displaced persons to their original home,’’ he said.
Buratai , Usman noted, also informed his audience of the Army’s commitment to developing capacity through local training and international collaboration in the provision for equipment, training support, equipment maintenance, intelligence and respect for human rights.
He said Buratai sought the support and understanding among all cooperating agencies and international partners for a collective action against Boko Haram terrorists.
Usman said a roundtable discussion was held on Nigeria’s counter-terrorism efforts and issues surrounding human rights abuses by Nigerian troops.
Usman said eminent personalities including senior retired military officers, policy makers and other top government officials participated in the discussions.
He said participants at the forum included director of the Centre, Dr J Peter Pham, Ambassador Philip Carter III and Former Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement AFRICOM, Serah Margon.
Other participants include, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch, Ambassador Clarence Cook, Chair of the Ballard Group LLC, Ms Lesley Anne Warner and House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms Morgan Vina.
The list also include Policy Analyst, US Committee on Foreign Relations and Colonel Chris Wyatt, Director of African Studies and US Army War College.
Usman said the Chief of Army Staff also presented another paper at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington.