…frees 182 Boko Haram suspects
Army Chief, Lt. Col. Kenneth Minimah has called on soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency to win the war as a mark of honor for their colleagues who died in the course of the war.
The Chief of Army Staff who was addressing soldiers at the graveyards of the fallen heroes of the ongoing war against the Boko Haram insurgents at the wreath laying ceremony to mark this year Army Day Celebration which was shifted to Maiduguri, the theater of war of the Boko Haram counter-insurgency war said; "The only way to honour our officers and men who lie ahead of me is to ensure that this war is won and I promise that we will win this war”.
Lt. Gen. Minimah also had soothing words for families of the dead soldiers. He said : "And I will also want to assure the families of departed colleagues that they will not be forgotten all statutory requirements and privileges for children and families they left behind would be honoured and be executed.
"The Army is the strength of any nation. And the Army is use to rate a nation in the international arena.
"I want to thank the executive governor of Borno state for his continued support to the Nigeria Army in pursuance of Operation Zaman Lafiya and in this particular case of also hosting the Nigeria Army Day Celebration 2015, this has come with a cost and logistics which the governor has undertaken.
Acknowledging the solemnity of the ceremony, the Army chief said; "It is a sad ceremony but it is also a ceremony that we must undertake for we have to honour the dead, Nigeria Army Day Celebration as it is for the living, it is also for the dead, and today we are honouring the dead."
Gov. Kashim Shettima was among the dignitaries that also lay the wreathe at the occasion, just as he commended the Army for keeping maiduguiri safe against the understanding of many people outside.
"Believe me at the risk of exaggerating issues Maiduguri is as secured as Lagos or Kaduna or any other city in this country. They all face the same challenges that Maiduguri is facing and we want to pay tribute to the gallant officers and men of the Nigeria Army who have laid down their lives for this country to remain one indivisible entity.
"Hundreds of our soldiers have died in this counter-insurgency war. We have to respect our fallen soldiers, we have to pray for the repose of their souls but most importantly we have to make their families realize that they did not die in vain."
"This singularly act of coming down to Maiduguri to celebrate the Army Day and coming to identify with us shall be written in gold.
"There is psychology in warfare and the fact that the top hierarchy of the Army are here in Maiduguri conveys a lot of message to the soldiers and to the rest of the world that Maiiduguri is safe, accessible and secured,” Shettima said.
Other highlights of the celebration was the freeing of 182 people earlier arrested by security agents suspected of having links with Boko Haram in the state.
Chief, of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. General Kenneth Minimah who handed over the suspects to Borno State Governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima on Monday at a military base in Maiduguri, said the suspects have been cleared by military authority of not having any link with the insurgents.
"We have over 100 detainees who were suspected to have link with Boko Haram. They are 100 men, 24 women, 40 underage boys and 18 children.
"They have been cleared; we have decided to hand them over to the Borno State government.
"They have been thoroughly investigated and acquitted of any involvement in the activities of Boko Haram or connected with the group," Minimah said.
The event of the freed detainees also added to one of the highlights of the Army Day celebration being marked in the state today (Monday) where the Army Chief with other top military brass stormed the Borno State capital to grace.
Lt. Gen. Minimah said the event is "to project the achievements, capabilities and prospects of the Nigerian Army, as well as boost the morale of troops fighting Boko Haram in the northeastern states of the country.
Governor Shettima while receiving the freed suspects asked them to take advantage of their freedom and recover from their lives struggle, adding that, he would assist them from returning back to normal life.
He commended the military for respecting the fundamental human rights of the suspects and high show of professionalism in their activities.
Medal were also awarded to the injured soldiers and those that were killed in the battle against the insurgents were also posthumously recognized with medals to commend their gallantry.
our correspondent reporst that Borno State, Maiduguri is locked down following the celebration of the Army Day of the Nigerian Army Day.
The Army authority decided to mark the day in Maiduguri, the troubled Boko Haram hub as part of measures to boost the morale of troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
The Nation can authoritatively report that many residents of Maiduguri metropolis were seen been turned away by security agenies as they try to access some roads to their offices.
Most of the major roads in the city have been either barricaded by the military or reduced to one lane causing unprecedented traffic.
Our correspondent also observed that any road that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah is expected to pass or it linking to where he is going to was closed to the use of the general public.
Most of the vehicles were diverted from the major roads as earlier as 7am even as the COAS and his team took the journey on the roads as late as 10am.
The closure of the roads made it difficult for many residents of the town for the second time in a week to get to their offices and business areas.
General Minima and other top Army brass arrived Maiduguri on Sunday to participate in the grand finale events of the Celebration, which begun Friday July 3 with Friday prayers in Mosques.
The event is extended to Sunday with church services at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Church in Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri
Gen. Minimah with his delegation also paid courtesy visit on the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima; and homage the Shehu of Borno, HRH Dr ABubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi today Monday.
This is the second time in less than a week that Maiduguri residents are going through such a horrible experience, the first being the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo last week to the city.