In compliance with the directive by President Buhari that the Command and Control headquarters of the Nigerian Armed Forces should relocate to Maiduguri, the epicentre of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Newsmen learnt that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth Minimah is to lead principal staff officers and some directors to Maiduguri tomorrow.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu will also relocate to Maiduguri with a contingent of his principal staff officers and some directors at NAF headquarters.
It was gathered that both the Army and the Air Force, which are directly prosecuting the war on terrorism from the air and land, are critical to the plan of the Buhari administration to rout Boko Haram out of the North East, while the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin will move to Maiduguri next week.
Already, the temporary office and accommodations are being erected for the service chiefs and PSOs relocating to Maiduguri.
In the first instance, it was learnt that the Chiefs of Operations, Chiefs of Logistics, Provost Marshals’ and Directors of Intelligence and Information departments of the Army, Air Force and Defence Headquarters will move to Maiduguri for effective coordination of the onslaught against Boko Haram.
Aside the movement of the Command and Control top brass of the armed forces, It was gathered that the Army High Command has directed the deployments of more troops from the 81 and 82 divisions of the Nigerian Army while more aircraft from the Special Operations Group, Logistics Command and the Mobility Command are to be deployed to swell those from the Tactical Air Command for the operation.
Asked if the issue of funding which was cited as one of the major problems for delay in wiping out the Boko Haram terrorism menace has been tackled, the military source said:
“The President has taken care of that issue. He said nothing will stand in his way to clear out the embarrassment that is Boko Haram. That is why the movement is immediate.”
On what becomes of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army whose headquarters is located in Maiduguri, the source said, there will be no problem or clash, noting that a separate location and office is being created for Army headquarters.
“Due to the urgency of the relocation, the office of the Chief of Army Staff and his personal aides will be in place, the principal staff officers will be accompanied with maybe one or two critical directors and of course, there will be various support staff in place drawn from the services headquarters”, the source added.
It will be recalled that President Buhari had a four-hour meeting with all the service chiefs during which he was briefed about the security situation regarding Boko Haram terrorism and what it will take to carry out his directive to move the Command and Control headquarters to Maiduguri, Borno State.
Asked how long the Command and Control Centre will be in Maiduguri, the source said, “as long as the Commander-in-Chief wants, but since the relocation is not for a jamboree, the objective will be to get the job done as soon as possible which is military fashion.
“But that does not mean other security challenges confronting the country will be given less attention. The economic livewire of the country, the maritime domain will continue to receive adequate attention as well as other contemporary challenges in several parts of the country.
“That is why we have GOC’s, AOC’s and FOC’s in various divisions and equivalent.”