12, 000 Boko Haram hostages freed so far ―Defence Minister

NO fewer than 12,000 persons held hostage including Chibok girls by the Book Haram insurgent had been set free by the Task Force in charge of security in the North East says the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali.

The Minister Stated this in his open address at a retreat organised by the Ministry with the theme: ” Enhancing civil-military relations, a panacea for promoting security and national development” held at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru, Plateau State.

Said he: “The insurgents have rather resort to attacking innocent soft targets. It is on record that before the coming of this administration about 65 per cent of the territories in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents.

“Through the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari we were able to recover the places and also free over 12 thousand persons mainly women and children held hostage by the terrorists including 106 Chibok girls released so far”.

He said with the  huge successes  recorded by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in these areas of security challenges, there is need for the Ministry of Defence to further consolidate on these efforts by coordinating, supervising and maintaining a sustainable and robust security apparatus to confront the security challenges.

He stated that this can only be achieved in an atmosphere of mutual respect, friendliness, mutual trust, hard work and dedication by both the civilian and military components of the Ministry.

“For more to be achieved, the military components of the ministry and the civilians must work hard, understand each other and have mutual respect and trust,” he said.

According to him, combined efforts of members of the armed forces had successfully degraded the Boko Haram insurgents, making it difficult for members to regroup and carry out organised attacks.

In his address, Plateau Governor Simon Lalong described the retreat, targeted at enhancing civil-military relationship, as “apt and of great significance”.

Lalong said that Plateau had had its share of security challenges and had seen seen how collaborations between the military and civilians had ensured quick resolution of internal conflicts.

The governor called for more bridges of understanding between the military and civilians, saying that such unity was key to effective discharge of constitutional duties.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogora, in his remarks, declared that power was not in the barrel of the gun but in the content of the heart.

“Holding guns and ranks should not give anyone a sense of superiority over members of the society; it should be a humbling factor and be managed with a great sense of responsibility,” he said.

Dogara, however, urged civilians to respect constituted authorities and embrace regular dialogue on matters of national importance.