The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja, has highlighted the significant improvements in the security situation across various regions of Nigeria, particularly in the North East, which had previously been devastated by a brutal insurgency over the past decades.

During a special programme marking the first year of President Bola Tinubu’s administration on Wednesday, Lt-General Lagbaja noted the stark contrast between the current state of security and the harrowing conditions that once dominated the North East. “Gone are the days when reports of suicide bombing, attacks on our government infrastructure, attacks on troops’ locations, dislodgement of our troops, and so many reverses in the North East used to be the in-thing in the news headline,” he stated. “Today, there is relative peace in the North East.”

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Despite these improvements, Lt-General Lagbaja acknowledged the persistence of complex threats in the region, with troops remaining vigilant and prepared to address them. “We are still confronting the challenge of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It’s understandable because the threats we confront are complex, ill-defined, and adaptable,” he explained. The military’s sustained efforts have led to substantial gains, including the recovery of military equipment that had been seized by terrorists during the peak of the insurgency.

Reflecting on the past year’s military operations, Lt-General Lagbaja highlighted several successful clearance missions in the North East. These operations have resulted in the elimination of numerous terrorists, the recovery of crucial military assets, and the rescue of many individuals from notorious areas such as the Sambisa Forest.

“We have been seeing photographs of our mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles being brought out of the Timbuktu triangle and from Sambisa Forest; places that the troops previously dreaded entering. Now they go there almost on a weekly basis to ensure there are boots on the ground and the domination of the geographic space,” he said.

However, while the North East has seen significant progress, the security situation in the North West presents a different picture. “In the North West, the threat matrix is becoming emboldened,” Lt-General Lagbaja noted. He attributed this escalation to various socio-political factors beyond the military’s direct control. “The challenge has always been the Yankasai, the local vigilante groups, against the pastoralists,” he explained.

Despite these socio-political complexities, the military has continued its efforts to stabilize the North West. Lt-General Lagbaja pointed out that troops have successfully neutralized several bandit kingpins in the region. Additionally, the military’s actions have contributed to notable security improvements in other parts of the country. In the South East, the military has addressed the issue of illegal sit-at-home orders, while in the South-South, their operations against oil thieves have led to improved crude oil output.

Lt-General Lagbaja emphasized the dedication and resilience of the troops who have been working under extremely challenging conditions. “Looking back at where we were years ago and the threats that confront us as a nation, I will say that the troops in the field and even the staff in the headquarters deserve the highest commendations for working in a very difficult environment and delivering results despite the challenges,” he stated.

The Chief of Army Staff’s remarks emphasizes the ongoing efforts and achievements of the Nigerian military in enhancing national security. As the country continues to navigate its complex security landscape, the commitment and sacrifices of the armed forces remain crucial in ensuring peace and stability across Nigeria.