The theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas has pledged a 5million naira reward for anyone with information about bomb factories in or around Maiduguri.
Rogers told a jam-packed news conference in Maiduguri Thursday that he was concerned about the spates of suicide bombings in the theatre and was going all out to ensure the stemming of the frequency of the attacks, especially around the Borno sector.
On the impact of the suicide bombers on the troops, he said that twenty-five of the insurgent bombers have been captured alive and detonated during the period under review while several have died in the cause of murdering troops or civilians.
General Nicholas said that over a million people have been rescued in the last six months since he assumed duty on the 11th December last year while hundreds were captured alive.
“As I speak to you Bama alone has over 750,000 of the rescued individuals and we continue to seek them out on a regular basis even today.
“I want to tell you that we have been able to make most of the major roads in the theatre passable and you can drive over without any escort. I tell you the roads are now relatively free.” Said Rogers.
On internally displaced people IDP’S returning to their various ancestral homes, he went on ” hundreds have gone back to their villages and towns and we are struggling to see how we can assist them in their farming activities. At least 2000 IDPs from Guzamala went home”
The theatre commander revealed that the men of the Nigerian Police are now in Mafa, local government area to protect the civil population hoping that soon all others will follow including the men of the DSS.
On the recent accusations that his men fired at civilians in Damboa, he said it was not correct adding that “six suicide bombers came to Damboa to cause that damnation and I tell you, no artillery sounds or fire came from my men. That statement was incorrect. It was all lies and nothing like that happened. By the way, our troops also try to respect human rights which is why our soldiers cannot be involved in the killing of civilians”
The theatre commander called on respective communities in the state to take charge of the security systems of their areas because it is only when they own the process that they themselves can be assured to sleep with their two eyes closed.
On the use of fertilizers by farmers, he said that the military will help former IDPs in their homelands to plough the land but will control the use of fertilisers because of the possibility of the people using same for explosive purposes.
The general frowned on media houses that celebrate negative reports from the Theatre urging that only reports that can positively affect the scheme of things and the morale on the men in the theatre would help, adding that it is better to avoid dropping negative report for a long time.
On ambushes, he posited that there are no insurgency leaders remaining on the land adding that “Albarnawi and his cohorts have been driven into the Lake Chad waters.”