Abayomi Olonisakin, ex-chief of defence staff, says the military reclaimed all the territories that were occupied by Boko Haram insurgents under his leadership.
One of the campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 was to tackle insecurity.
Some communities in the north-east were under the insurgents’ control, prompting the military to launch numerous assaults against the sect.
After months of attacks, men of the Operation Lafiya Dole, on December 22, 2016, announced the successful take-over of “camp zero”, the strongest enclave of Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest.
The flag of the insurgents that was recovered during the military operation was later presented to Buhari at a dinner organised by the presidential brigade of guards.
Speaking during the handover ceremony to Lucky Irabor, his successor, Olonisakin said the army was able to achieve that feat with the help of the government and Nigerians.
“We all could recall that at the inception of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Boko Haram terrorist group held sway in parts of north-east Nigeria, where the sect occupied 20 out of 26 local government areas in Borno state,” Olonisakin said at the defence headquarters on Friday.
“Our immediate challenge on the assumption of office was to flush out Boko Haram and restore Nigeria’s sovereignty over these occupied territories.
“Gratefully, with the support of the political leadership and
indeed all Nigerians, the armed forces of Nigeria, under my leadership, was able to reclaim all territories that were then under the control of Boko Haram.”
Olonisakin noted that the defence headquarters has made some modest achievements aimed at improving operational capacity, logistics, and welfare needs of officers.
He spoke on the armed forces’ initiatives and collaborations, which he said led to the production of some of the country’s defence needs, which included airboats, the prototype of an improvised explosive devices detector with extended range, locally produced handheld radios, among others.
He praised the choice of his successor, saying “there couldn’t have been a better choice of a seasoned senior officer who will hit the ground running as the chief of defence staff.”
On his part, Sadique Abubakar urged the armed forces to support Oladayo Amao, the new chief of air staff.
The former air chief said Amao will add significant value to the air force.
“I urge you all to extend even greater support to my successor, AVM Oladayo Amao, a fine senior officer, an experienced fighter pilot and an innovative leader, who I believe will add significant value to what we have been able to do in the past few years,” Abubakar said.