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Over 120,000 Boko Haram Fighters, Family Members Surrender To Nigerian Army, Says Army Chief

Daud Olatunji

In a significant development, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, announced on Thursday that over 120,000 Boko Haram fighters and their families have surrendered to the Nigerian Army in the North-East region of the country. 

This announcement was made during the second quarter edition of the Nigerian Army Civil-Military Cooperation Media Chat 2024 held in Kano.

Lt. Gen. Lagbaja, represented by Major General Mayirensa Lander David Saraso, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, detailed the Nigerian military’s achievements in combating terrorism and insurgency.

 He highlighted the significant impact of the military’s operations, which have led to the rescue of 350 individuals from the Sambisa forest and the neutralization of hundreds of terrorists, including numerous top commanders.

“The Nigerian Army, in collaboration with sister-services and other security agencies, has continued to record remarkable successes in various regions of the country,” said Lagbaja. 

He emphasized the restoration of socio-economic activities in previously deserted communities and the ongoing efforts to counter the illegal activities of groups such as the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.

The COAS underscored the importance of transparent communication between the military and the public to build trust and counter misinformation.

 “We must establish regular channels of communication, enabling transparent and accurate reporting of military operations and activities,” he stated. 

He urged the media to exercise responsibility, accuracy, and fairness in their reporting, emphasizing the balance between national security interests and the public’s right to information.

In his address, Lagbaja also noted the desire of over 20,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon to return to their ancestral homes in Borno and Adamawa states, reflecting the improved security situation in those areas. 

He called on all Nigerians to support the military’s efforts in ensuring national security and stability.

The event, themed “Synergizing Civil-Military Cooperation for National Security: Focus on Nigerian Army-Media Relations,” aimed to strengthen the relationship between the Nigerian Army and the media. 

The COAS recognized the media’s critical role in shaping public opinion and fostering transparency in governance, advocating for a partnership based on open dialogue and mutual respect.

Lagbaja concluded by reaffirming the Nigerian Army’s commitment to its constitutional mandate and the importance of maintaining high standards of professionalism, accuracy, and impartiality in media reporting.

 “As the Nigerian Army diligently fulfills its constitutional mandates, it is equally imperative for the media to uphold the highest standards of professionalism,” he said.

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