The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Saturday, said the military had done its part in securing the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, which had come under attacks from Boko Haram for years and said it was now left for civil authorities to carry out reconstruction of the area as well as rehabilitation and reintegration of the internally-displaced persons.
He said that the army would, nonetheless, offer its professional assistance towards the reconstruction efforts if called upon to do so.
Buratai, however, noted that a high-powered committee that will be involved in the reconstruction effort and which he was a member had been set up by government.
The army boss spoke at a special congress organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council, where he insisted that there was currently no local government in the north east that was under the control of the terrorists, pointing out that a recent attack against the troops was from the sect which came from Niger.
He used the opportunity to speak further on his ownership of assets in Dubai which were allegedly not declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Buratai disclosed that he declared the property as was required by law and said that the issue as to whether it was a mansion or an estate did not even arise, describing it as a non issue.
The army chief wondered why the public believed some individuals who he said only wanted to see that the anti-corruption fight of government was rubbished.
He said that those persons were the ones who went to the media to have what he described as rubbish published against him.
According to him, there was need for the media to have such issues investigated before publication in view of the fact that there were individuals who wanted to tarnish his image as well as that of the government.
“I want to appeal that when that kind of thing comes up, you dig deeper because of the image of individuals at stake. Just imagine the implication if I had not declared those two houses,” he said.
He said that in as much as it was the duty of public office holders to declare their assets, there were private issues attached to the declaration that it beat the imagination as to why anybody would be interested in the document being made public.
“I have declared it and they have already gone to verify it. That is my constitutional requirement and I have done it so let everybody face his business,” he said.
Responding to the allegation of military check points where troops collected bribes, Buratai described the situation as unfortunate and said, “If such incidences are reported with specific time and dates, it will help us and we will get to them accordingly. We will investigate the matter quickly and decide on them immediately because it is not giving us good image.”
He said, “we are deliberate to ensure that our troops are professional. Such anti-social behaviours are unfortunate but unfortunately, commuters do same thing to bribe troops out of their way.”
Buratai commended Nigerians who he said had continued to give support to the military as well as to the other sister agencies.
He, however, acknowledged that there was now mutual trust and understanding, as well as seamless flow of information to the media on activities of the army.