Buratai: That moment of truth on BBC by Jessica Angula

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is admired in multiple ways. He is a soldier who stands up for the truth and a puritan to a fault.

His disarming frankness, hard work and flair for excellence are largely responsible for his meteoric rise in the Nigerian Army.

In a publicized interview on July 3rd, 2017, Gen. Buratai , who featured on the BBC HARDtalk programme, anchored by Stephen Sackur spoke on a range of issues, including state of the counter-insurgency campaigns in Nigeria and particularly in the Northeast.

The COAS who has spent the last few years of his career fighting Boko Haram terrorism, first as Field Commander, Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and now, as Nigeria’s COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency war stated lucidly that militarily, the Islamic sect, Boko Haram insurgents have been defeated.

Buratai was explicit that; “ I don’t think anybody has said Boko Haram has been eliminated. Terrorism is something that is resilient. Today we have gained tremendously. Before May 2015, the Boko Haram were even in Abuja; they were in Kano; they were in Kaduna; they were penetrating down to the South. And we had to stop them.”

“And for the past one and a half years, you have not had any attack in Jos, either Abuja or Kano or many other places. Not even as close as Gombe, where we had several attacks. You have never had it.

Now, they are only concentrated in certain areas in Borno state and parts of Yobe state,” he explained…If you talk in terms of military action; militarily, Boko Haram has been defeated.”

The crux of the message by General Buratai on state of the terrorism war in Nigeria is clearly discernible and can be dissected on three planks.

First, terrorism is a devilish vice that has traits of resilience and so, no one has claimed elimination of Boko Haram insurgency completely.

And secondly, Nigerian troops have been able to substantially curtail its unbridled influence reflective in the previously widespread attacks in major cities and states in Nigeria, which are now reduced to attacks in parts of Borno and Yobe states.

And also, Nigerian troops have been able to curb its incursion into the Southern part of the country.

And thirdly, the cumulative effect of the situation interpreted together alludes to the incontrovertible reality that Nigerian troops have defeated Boko Haram militarily. Combatively, it has recorded immense gains against terrorism in Nigeria.

But Nigerians have a confounding capacity for mischief. The Gen. Buratai’s brief interview on BBC, presented in plain language has been misinterpreted by mischief makers.

Even if these Nigerians considered it too cumbersome to digest the literature of terrorism emanating from other parts of the world which have suffered the terrorism scourge, Gen. Buratai offered them the sketch of it.

Unfortunately, they never burdened themselves with listening to dispassionately decode the contents of the interview appropriately. They preferred to form opinions, which have no nexus with what the Army Chief uttered. Thereafter, they rushed to the media in disputation of the exclamations of the Army Chief.

Therefore, expectedly, Sen. Abubakar Kyari , representing Borno North senatorial district, instantly countered the claims of Gen. Buratai, that Boko Haram has been defeated. And his only reason for mouthing this illogicality were his claims of knowledge of information that Boko Haram terrorists have regrouped and plotting to soon unleash a serious attack on the state.

Senator Kyari failed to crack between the words, “elimination” and “defeat” of Boko Haram terrorism as Gen. Buratai clearly explained in the concept of the resilient character of terrorism anywhere in the world.

By the Army Chief’s exposition, the fact that activities of Boko Haram insurgents have been restricted to occasional strikes on targets’ in parts of the two states is indication of the defeat. This is a remarkable difference compared to the past when terrorism was felt almost in all parts of the North and beyond, which expressed differently, is their certified defeat.

Forwardly, it is understandable that the total elimination of terrorism in the country will stretch overtime, before it eventually fizzles out. But for now, intermittent attacks by remnants of Boko Haram insurgents will continue and these attacks have serious undertones.

Jessica Angula from the United Kingdom writes on the chief of army staff Tukur Buratai’s recent feature on the BBC HardTalk.

Angula said Buratai’s remarks on the progarmme is a clear assurance for Nigerians and the global community that the Nigerian military has defeated Boko Haram terrorists beyond every reasonable doubt


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