by Kolapo Olapoju
On Wednesday, 27 August, the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade said the Nigerian Army will imminently take back the Islamic caliphate of Gwoza from the forces of Boko Haram.
After initially being in denial about Abubakar Shekau’s declaration that Gwoza now belongs to the sect, the Army boss has said moves are already in place by Nigerian forces to regain the sovereignty of the town in Borno state.
During a telephone conversation with Channels Television, Olukolade said the army is working to reverse Shekau’s proclamation. “We are definitely working to reverse all those tendencies. We are not conceding any portion of this country to a group of terrorists and the required operation to reverse that is ongoing,”
Speaking further, he said, “we are working to ensure Gwoza as a town, its surroundings and other portions that terrorists seem to be moving around are secured,” while he assured Nigerians that “we are sure we will accomplish it in a short while.”
He also spoke about the $1bn (
N162,120,000,000) loan President Jonathan requested for permission to borrow, saying it will go a long way in acquiring equipment to tackle the menace of the sect.
He said, “On a regular basis, we require and we are sure we will get the regular upgrade that is required to conduct this operation properly. We are encouraged that political authorities and Nigerians have appreciated the need for the military to be properly equipped to handle this operation.”
He added that the military has started to receive upgraded weapons, while imploring the soldiers to also upgrade their response.
Meanwhile, he refuted the reports by BBC which suggested that Nigerian soldiers fled to Cameroon after a fierce fire-fight with Boko Haram insurgents in Gamboru-Ngala, Borno State.
However, the Defence Headquarters had on Tuesday, 26 August, announced the return of the troops from Cameroon, saying they had gone on a separate counter-terrorism mission.