Between 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari was elected into power in his first administration and 2021, he has made critical appointments in the Nigerian Army (NA) from the same Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole.
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The command is one of the comprehensive responses of the Buhari-led government to confirmed reports of terrorism spear-headed by a dreaded foe, Abubakar Shekau, who is said to be dead.
The operation was seen as the administration’s impetus to flush out evil and destructive elements which have been around before it came on board.
Lafiya Dole (meaning “peace by all means” in Hausa), now code-named Hadin Kai, launched in July 2015 by the NA’s leadership, was dedicated to deal with the injurious activities of Boko Haram in the northeastern part of the country.
The aim at the time was to give the Army a professional structure in the anti-terrorism war.
It was birthed to replace Operation Zaman Lafiya as part of the federal government’s promise to restore peace both in the north and the south-south.
A report by The News quoted Major-General Tukur Buratai (the then Chief of Army Staff) as saying that the government is serious about its drive to end insurgency in the shortest possible time throughout the country.
“It is the wish of the Federal Government to end this terrorism quickly in this part of the country and indeed some other challenges in the south-south and other parts of the country. This will make us have a very peaceful country free from any insecurity.
“We are going to carry this as a war and I appeal to all and sundry to give this operation maximum cooperation. We will carry the civil population along, we will also observe the principle of human rights and respect human dignity. We will not trample on anybody’s right.”
Leadership and Success
Although the reign of terrorists and bandits in the north is still very obvious going by the number of mindless killings, kidnappings, and unprovoked attacks which have been on the increase, the special command has recorded laudable successes.
The unit has neutralised and chased countless insurgents from the north to other parts of the country, a fact recently confirmed by the president himself.
There is no doubt that Buratai’s leadership of the command is part of his credentials that earned him the highest position in the NA.
His successor, Ibrahim Attahiru, also led the unit with the directive to track, capture, and kill Shekau in not more than 40 days given by Buratai.
COAS Yahaya’s Administration of the Command
Recall also that the current COAS, Major-General Farouk Yahaya, who was also a one-time head of the command, was said to have supervised operations that killed about 2000 insurgents in two months.
Records showed that from April 2021 when Yahaya took over the war against insurgency as the commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the ranks of Boko Haram were depleted.