We'll not be distracted in the war against terrorists - Army

Irabor was reacting to an online publication alleging diversion of money meant for the prosecution of the war by the military high command.

Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri on Saturday, June 25.

"The attention of Theatre Command has been drawn to some issues in the online Sahara Reporters of June 24, with a story line alleging that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and his wives own some properties in Dubai.

"The report among other vicious and smear campaign issues, impugned that some `concerned officers and soldiers in the North East’ allegedly wrote a petition on the state of affairs in the Operation Lafiya Dole,’’ he said.

Irabor described the reports as baseless, unfounded and wicked insinuation.

"What a baseless, unfounded and wicked insinuation, it is for this reason that I call you today to clear issues as they affect Operation Lafiya Dole.

"The other issue regarding property in Dubai is outside my purview, but has been responded to appropriately by the Acting Director Army Public Relations.

"The COAS, since assumption of office, has taken the affairs of Operation Lafiya Dole to a level that showed unparalleled commitment to the operational effectiveness and good welfare of troops.

"For example, since January 2016 till now, the COAS has provided various quantities of ammunition types, vehicles and other equipment in the Theatre.

"He has equally provided uniforms and boots for all the troops in Operation Lafiya Dole," Irabor added.

He said that COAS had also ensured regular payment of allowances and other personnel entitlements since assumption of office.

"The payment of allowances and other requirements have been regular and in most cases, up-front. The COAS’ regular visits to the front line are well known to all.

"The aggregate impact of the efforts is the huge operational successes being recorded in the Theatre.

"The morale of troops has equally risen to a level that was never witnessed in the past,'' Irabor said.

He also faulted claims that the motorcycles supplied to the Motorcycle Battalion in the Operation Lafiya Dole were used and refurbished.

"The online report further imputed that the motorcycles inducted into Operation Lafiya Dole and employed by the Motorcycle Battalion, were used and refurbished.

"What a sad tale of lies, when a report of that nature was received earlier, the COAS instituted a high-powered investigation by Military Police.

"The findings of the investigation team revealed that the motorcycles were brand new and were delivered in crates as knocked-down-parts.

"The technicians who fixed some of them, failed to tighten some knots firmly which was later rectified. Ever since, the motorcycles have proven useful in various operations,'' Irabor said.

Irabor noted that the Motorcycle Battalion comprised of trained counter-terrorist personnel, skilled in the use of motorcycles.

According to him, the motorcycles are to enhance the capability of own forces to patrol, block routes, picket and pursue any remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists.

This, he said had proved successful in the last major Operation Crackdown which practically ended the activities of the terrorists, particularly along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu and Damaturu-Buni Yadi Biu roads, opened to the public earlier in the year.

Irabor, however, described the publication as concerted strategy to distract the army from the anti Boko Haram war.

"I call on all well-meaning Nigerians, especially those who reside in the North East, being the direct beneficiaries of the great gains made by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole under the firm direction of the COAS, to condemn this siege on their conscience,'' he said.

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