The Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Lucky Irabor, a Major General, has called on the public, particularly those in the northeast, to rise in defence of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, a Lieutenant General, in the face of allegations concerning his commitment in the fight against Boko Haram.
Irabor made the call in Maiduguri on Saturday when he gave an update on the progress of the counterinsurgency operation following allegations of corruptions by a group known as “Concerned Soldiers and Officers from the North East” against Buratai.
Aside alleging that the army chief and his wives own properties in Dubai, the group accused him of not doing enough in the fight against the insurgents, an accusation the theater commander debunked.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief of Army Staff,COAS, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, since assumption of office, has taken the affairs of Operation Lafia Dole to a level that showed unparalleled commitment to the operational effectiveness and good welfare of troops. For example, between January till now, the COAS has provided various quantities of ammunition types, vehicles and other equipment in the Theatre.
” He has equally provided uniforms and boots for all the troops in Operation Lafia Dole. The payment of allowances and other requirements have been regular and in most cases, up-front. The COAS’ regular visits to the frontline are well known to all. The aggregate impact of the efforts is the huge operational successes being recorded in the Theatre,” Irabor said.
This, he added, has led to the increase in morale of troops in the front lines.
He also dismissed insinuations that the motorcycles bought for the Motorcycle Battalion, which has proved very effective in securing the Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu and Damaturu-Buni Yadi-Biu roads in Borno and Yobe States, were second hand.
“When a report of that nature was received earlier, the COAS instituted a high-powered investigation by Military Police. The findings of the investigation team revealed that the motorcycles were brand new and were delivered in crates as knocked-down-parts. The technicians who fixed some of them, failed to tighten some knots firmly which was later rectified. Ever since, the motorcycles have proven useful in various operations,” Irabor noted.
He called the report part of terrorist strategy to distract the military from its operations but warned that it would fail.
Earlier, army spokesperson, Sani Usman, a Colonel, addressed the aspect of the allegations claiming the Chief of Army Staff and his wives own a property in Dubai that was paid in one transaction.
“It is a fact that the Buratai family have two properties in Dubai that were paid for instalmentally through personal savings three years ago. This, along with other personal assets have consistently been declared by General Buratai in his Assets Declaration Form as Commander Multinational Joint Task Force Commander and as Chief of Army Staff,” Usman said in a statement.
The statement also said Buratai does not have a bank account with Skye Bank and was never a director of procurement at the army headquarters. The army’s Directorate of Procurement, Usman said, was established by the Chief of Army Staff only a year ago.
The army expressed worries over the “baseless allegation”, which it claimed is meant to discredit its leader, but warned that the army can only be spurred to carry out its responsibilities with zeal.