•Says journey to end insurgency has begun
•Holds talks with Borno gov on sustainable peace
•President’s trip excites PDP
By Augustine Osayande with agency report
In a morale-boosting move, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday visited troops in Mubi, Adamawa State and Baga, Borno State and applauded them for proving their mettle once again through the rapid recapture of territories formerly held by insurgents in the country’s North-eastern states.
Addressing officers and men of the Nigerian Army in both towns, which were recently recaptured from Boko Haram, President Jonathan declared that he and all Nigerians were very proud of the bravery, competence and patriotism with which they were now undertaking operations to expel the insurgents from all parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
The President said that with their recent successes, which have overwhelmingly turned the tide against Boko Haram, the Nigerian military has proven beyond any doubt that it remains fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The military’s recent victories against Boko Haram, President Jonathan told the troops, have also proven conclusively that all those, within and outside the country, who cast aspersions on Nigerian soldiers and questioned their ability and willingness to overcome the insurgents were misinformed and wrong.
President Jonathan, who was accompanied on the trip by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and all the Service Chiefs, assured the troops that the Federal Government will ensure that they receive all the equipment and logistics they require to complete the ongoing mission to reassert government’s effective control over all areas formerly held by Boko Haram.
The President promised the soldiers that all issues pertaining to their welfare will be properly and expeditiously addressed.
He assured them that they will be duly rewarded for their bravery and patriotic service to the nation at the successful conclusion of ongoing operations against Boko Haram.
Families of soldiers who have sadly lost their lives in battles against Boko Haram will also be well provided for, the President further assured the troops.
The soldiers responded to the President’s address with chants of “Never Again” and assured him that insurgents and terrorists will never again be allowed to take and hold any Nigerian territory.
While in Mubi, President Jonathan, accompanied by the Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Bala Ngilari and the Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Bonnie Haruna, paid a courtesy call on the Emir, Alhaji Isa Ahmadu.
He assured the Emir that the Federal Government will do all within its powers to ensure that normalcy is speedily returned to Mubi and other towns and settlements recently recaptured from Boko Haram to enable displaced persons return to their homes in the shortest possible time.
President Jonathan also undertook an aerial inspection of other towns and areas recently recaptured from Boko Haram including Monguno.
Before returning to Abuja, the President met and conferred with the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima in Maiduguri.
Jonathan told newsmen at the end of the tour in Maiduguri that the journey to end Boko Haram insurgency had begun aggressively.
“First and foremost, I went to see our soldiers and to encourage them on their gallantry efforts.
“I also went to convey the appreciation of Nigerians to them.’’
Jonathan said that his trip was to examine Nigerian weapons and communities affected by the insurgency.
“Also I went to inspect the weapons we have and to visit communities devastated by the excesses of Boko Haram.
“I just went to see things for my self.
“ I know there are government departments that will handle the rehabilitation of damaged communities.
“It is good for you as a president to appreciate your self so that when people are briefing you, you know exactly what they are saying.’’
Jonathan expressed optimism that the Boko Haram insurgency would end soon.
“I am very hopeful this time around that the journey to end Boko Haram insurgency has commenced very aggressively and will soon get to an end,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Jonathan was accompanied by the Chief of Defense Staff, Air Mashal Alex Badeh, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, the National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, and the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Suleiman Abba, among others
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commended Jonathan for his visit to hot spots in the troubled Northeastern part of the country on Thursday.