From Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri
The Nigerian army has debunked the rumour that the defence headquarters have taken over the management of operation lafia Dole as a result of laxity.
The Army through its spokesperson Col Sani Usman described the rumour making the mills as a figment of the imagination of the peddlers who do not understand the constitutional roles of the Defence Chief.
In a strongly worded release over the weekend Col Usman said that “In recent days there were speculations in the media especially the online, to the effect that Operation LAFIYA DOLE has been taken over by the Defence Headquarters Abuja for effective management.
He said that the online media equally posited that some soldiers were not very happy about the sudden take over of the command structure which the commander in chief had moved to maiduguri last year.
“This is quite unfortunate and a figment of the imaginations of the respective media which aimed at distracting the military and creating rancour and disaffection among the components fighting Boko Haram terrorists.
“Consequently, it is important to reiterate that since inception of the operation there has always been a hierarchy of command and control as indeed in all military operations. The Armed Forces Act (AFA), Cap A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004 in Section 7, clearly states the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and his powers.
“He therefore exercises his powers in accordance with the appropriate statue books. He superintends over all the Services; Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Air Force. Therefore, the operation in the North East is not an exception.
“On the other hand, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) is responsible for all land operations and will continue to exercise that role and as may be directed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Honourable Minister of Defence, the CDS or directly to the COAS as the case may be.
“Operation LAFIYA DOLE is essentially a Land and Air operation. The Nigerian Army has the largest troops deployed and therefore the COAS has the responsibility for the operational, command, control and discipline of the Army. This the COAS will continue to exercise by himself or can delegate through his field commanders.”
The Army spokesperson said that the recent unfortunate attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on communities close to Maiduguri, despite successes calls for concern which is why the Nigerian Army has already commenced investigation into the attacks.
“All those found wanting will be dealt with in accordance with the Armed Forces Act. A standing Special Court Martial in the North East has already been established. All cases of indiscipline and related acts of misconduct including human rights abuse in the operations will be tried by this Special Court Martial.” Said Sani
The Army called on the public and indeed Nigerians to disregard rumours and speculations on the alleged take over of the command and control of Operation LAFIYA DOLE and continue to support the fight against terrorism and insurgency.