The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has assured Nigerians that victims abducted during the Abuja-Kaduna train attack will soon regain their freedom.
General Irabor said a lot of effort had been going on to ensure their release, noting that the 11 captives who recently regained freedom was a pointer to what the military’s effort.
He spoke during a chat with Arise TV on issues around tackling insecurity in the different regions of Nigeria.
He said, “Though I refrain from indicating what we are doing with respect to the Abuja-Kaduna train incident victims, what is clear and which I wish to reassure Nigerians, is that quite a lot is happening. Just two weeks ago, the release of the eleven victims should tell Nigerians that quite a lot is happening, that government is doing quite a lot, and you wouldn’t say that they are using anybody as human shield.
“Human shield or no human shield, we will continue to conduct our operations, but beyond the military line of operations, you equally know that there is other non-kinetic line of operation which is part of the entire security architecture in redressing all the issues in respect to the abduction and other incidence of criminality across the country.
“So, I would like to assure Nigerians that very soon, all those who are held captives will regain their freedom. And of course, those criminal elements behind this criminal act will certainly be brought to justice.”
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Irabor said despite the security challenges in the country, the military had been able to record some progress, especially in the North East.
He said, “Let me say that the military is not alone in addressing the problem of insecurity in the country. This is because, quite a lot has happened, and perhaps, if the military, and of course other security agencies who are responsible for redressing these issues did not undertake the kind of actions they have done in the past, perhaps the situation would’ve been worse than what it is.
“But of course, the fact that there is still an incidence of insecurity across the country, means that there’s quite a lot of work to be done. And that is what we are committed to doing. So, I would like to assure you that we are leaving no stone unturned to redress the security imbalance across the country.
“So, this is what we have acknowledged in the past, but again, having observed that, we have also heightened our engagements. And also, in the North West, we have Operation Hadarin Daji, and in the North Central, we have Operation Thunder Strike among others, to be able to redress security challenges in this part of the country.”
Commenting on the insecurity challenges in the North West, Irabor explained that due to the military operations in the North East, the insurgents in the region were fleeing to the North West, where banditry is already a big challenge.
“Several times, we’ve had to acknowledge the fact that based on the very serious work we are doing in the North East, having sent a huge blow on the terrorists in the region, many of them are now relocating to find safer havens, and in this case, they found some places in the North West to link up with other criminal elements in that part of the country.
“Yes, there are linkages. But you must not also discount the fact that the Northwestern part of Nigeria is where we have boundaries with Niger Republic, and then of course I believe you’re aware of the issues happening with the Islamic State of West African province especially through Sahel region which by extension draws some of the inroads with the larger ISWAP elements.
“So, it is not impossible, that the incursions are also in our northern borders. The aggregate of all these is what you find happening in the North West, but I would like to assure you once again that we are taking every measure to ensure the menace does not go beyond what it is currently,” he said.