31st December, 2021
By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government on Thursday said no fewer than 1,927 terrorists and bandits were neutralised while 3,831 civilians were rescued in 2021 in various operations set up by the military.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a media briefing on Thursday in Lagos, added that more than 22,000 terrorists including their families surrendered in the North-East Zone within the year.
The briefing was to showcase the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari Administration during the outgoing year 2021.
The minister, who identified insecurity as the biggest challenge of the administration in the outgoing year, said that the military had continued to live up to its billing.
He said to keep the country safe, the Armed Forces of Nigeria had set up various operations across the country including the Joint Task Force in the North East, tagged Operation Hadin Kai.
According to him, with a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic operations, more than 1,000 terrorists were neutralised in the North East while 2000 civilians were rescued by operation Hadin Kai.
He said many arms and ammunition were recovered in addition to destruction of several IED/bomb making factories of the ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists.
Mohammed said under Operation Hadarin Daji in the North West Zone, the conduct of offensive clearance operations, raids and air operations resulted in the neutralisation of no fewer than 427 bandits.
He added that 257 bandits were arrested, 897 civilians rescued while 3,087 livestock were rescued in the zone.
“Similarly, Operation Whirl Punch covering parts of Kaduna neutralised about 215 bandits, arrested 133 bandits, rescued 296 civilians and recovered 136 livestock.
“Operation Thunder Strike neutralised 36 bandits, arrested 74, rescued 296 civilians and recovered 136 livestock.
“In the North Central, raids and clearance operations conducted by Operation Safe Haven neutralised 91 criminal elements, arrested 155 suspects, rescued 159 civilians and recovered 3,259 livestock.
“For its part, Operation Whirl Stroke neutralised 158 criminals, arrested 151 suspects and rescued 183 civilians,’’ he said.
The minister said the effectiveness of the military was enhanced by the leadership provided by President Buhari and the unwavering commitment of the armed forces and its leadership.
He said the procurement of modern platforms for the armed forces had also gone a long way in raising the level of their operational readiness and efficiency.
“During the period under review, the Nigerian Army procured 160 MRAPS, 150 trucks and 60 APCs to improve its equipment holding.
“Various kits were provided for troops in addition to the provision of accommodation for troops and the recruitment of over 10,000 personnel into the army,’’ he said.
The minister said the Nigerian Navy, for its part, commissioned the FALCON EYE Maritime Domain Awareness Capability.
He said the third locally-built Seaward Defence Boat, one helicopter, four inshore patrol boats and 90 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats were also commissioned while over 1,500 personnel were recruited into the Navy during the year.
Mohammed said the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of 12 Super Tucanos and three JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft and other platforms with which it conducted several Air interdictions.
He said the Air Force also provided close air support to ground troops and destroyed several illegal structures and equipment belonging to terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.
The minister said the Armed Forces of Nigeria also contributed immensely to international peace and security efforts.
Specifically, he said the Armed Forces participated in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation
Mission in Mali and the regional initiative, ECOWAS Military Intervention in Gambia.
The minister assured that the military would not rest on its oars in fulfillment of its constitutional duties, to address the myriad of evolving contemporary threats, particularly ahead of the 2023 elections.