The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Maj-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, has said traditional and religious leaders are critical to end Boko Haram terrorism in the Northeast.
The leaders, according to him, are closest to the people are the best bet to assist the military in the ongoing counter-insurgency and terrorism operations in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
Yahaya said this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi.
“I felt it was an honour to visit the Shehu as a father, leader not only in Borno, but the country at large, to receive a royal blessing for the tasks before the Nigerian Army,” he said.
He noted that the support from the emirate led to the successes recorded in the operations against the terrorists, while he was the Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai. He applauded the military for the gradual return of peace to insurgency-affected states.
He solicited for more support to end terrorism that has claimed many lives and property in the state.
In his response, El-Kanemi said that 17 of the 27 local councils previously occupied by insurgents have been recaptured by the military with restored civil authority.
“You should not be deterred to end this insurgency,” he said, pledging more support from traditional and religious leaders.
The COAS was accompanied to the palace by the Chief of Operations (Army), Major General Ibrahim Yusuf; Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), Major General Christopher Musa; Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division and Commander, Sector 1, OPHK, Brigadier General Abdulwahab Eyitayo and other senior officers.