The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petirin, has said in Maiduguri that counter-terrorism operations do not have a time frame.
Petirin said it took time to deal with the phenomenon, which had become a global threat to security of lives and property.
Petirin, who was in the Borno State capital yesterday with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, to commission some boreholes provided for Maiduguri residents by the military, said he could not give specific time when the Boko Haram insurgency would be put at bay.
He said: “The issue of terrorism or criminality is a difficult thing. Once people import it into any society, it is not always easy to completely wipe it out but we have to continue to manage it and be conscious of our security more than before.
“In the US, for instance, there hasn’t been any serious attack since the 9/11 episode but the country and Americans have remained more watchful than the pre-9/11 era. They have been managing the problem.
“So, I can’t give you a definite time when the crisis will be over but what I know is that we are on course. However, there is nothing like everything is over or let us go home and sleep even when we might had substantially tackled the Boko Haram issue. No, we have to continue to manage it.”
According to Petirin, the military was not opposed to the dialogue move by the Federal Government with the Boko Haram but he noted that the responsibility of the security forces was to ensure the safety of lives and property of the people.
He said: “The Federal Government owns everything, including the military and Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno, so it can dialogue with the sect. But for us, we were not trained to get people talking and we don’t even have the competence to do that.”
Also the JTF Commander, Major-Gen. Jah Ewansia, pleaded for understanding of residents of Maiduguri for shutting down many roads in the metropolis during the CDS’ visit.
Ewansia explained that the JTF took the measure to ensure smooth movement of the defence chief, following the heavy traffic situation in the city, stressing that the JTF regretted the inconveniences that the measure might have caused the people.
Earlier, during a visit to Governor Kashim Shettima, Petirin said he was in the state with the IGP “essentially to thank the government and the people of the state for their support.”
He said the cooperation of the people had started yielding results.
Abubakar, in his brief remarks, said no development could be achieved without peace, urging the people to continue to cooperate with the security agencies in order to end the crisis.
Responding, Shettima said the presence of the CDS and the IGP in the state indicated the commitment of the echelon of the security apparatus in the country to the security problem, facing the state and the nation at large.
The governor said he believed the insurgency was gradually subsiding, adding that the security challenge was at its peak.
He said this stage required commitment, collaboration and contribution of all.
While thanking the military for the provision of nine boreholes to the residents of the crisis-prone areas in Maiduguri as well as 50,000 exercise books, the governor again called on members of Boko Haram, who are willing to embrace the dialogue proposal to come forward.
He said no religious struggle could be won through killings and maiming of the people.
Shettima said: “Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation and you cannot turn everybody to embrace your belief by force. It will be foolhardy for anybody to wish to create Muslim states in the North or Christian states in the South.”