Having failed in its first deadline, the Nigerian Army has been granted extension of time to capture the leader of Boko Haram terror gang, Abubakar Shekau, dead or alive.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, handed down the first order on July 21 to the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
Buratai had tasked Attahiru to deploy every weapon available in his arsenal “to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria,” a statement from the army said. That deadline lapsed Thursday, August 31.
Buratai instead commended Attahiru, his sector commanders and all troops of Operation Lafiya Dole for “pursuing the COAS directive of capturing the purported Boko Haram terrorists leader,” an army statement released Friday said.
“Although the leader has not been captured, the COAS noted with satisfaction the zeal and determination with which the directive was pursued,” the statement signed by Brg.-Gen Usman, stated.
The army chief approved an extension to the deadline, and applauded the commanders for “coming very close to achieving the directive”.
Buratai congratulated the commander for “eliminating five key leaders of the terrorists group that were the closest associates and right hand men of the terrorists group leader”.
“Within the same period, 82 of the Boko Haram terrorists were eliminated. Therefore, the Commander was very close to achieving the directive,” the statement further stated.
“The Theatre Commander has asked for the extension of the deadline and it has been granted by the COAS.
“Giving deadlines and extensions are strategic means of focusing troops’ efforts in the theatre. Currently the main thrust of the operations is the decapitation of all the remaining terrorists factions within the Nigerian territory.
“With this feat achieved the relevance of Shekau is no longer of any consequence. The people of the NE and indeed all Nigerians are enjoined to be more confident of the Nigerian troops and go about their normal activities.”