ABUJA, Nigeria – Former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Agwai, (Rtd), on Tuesday extolled the leadership style of Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum.
Speaking before he delivered a resounding keynote address at an internation conference on “Insurgency and Counter insurgency in Nigeria: Critical Perspective on Boko Haram”, held in Abuja, Agwai, an intellectual and highly decorated General, said for long he had hoped to meet Governor Zulum because of his performances within the short time of being Governor of Borno state.
“I have read and heard so much about him and for long, I hoped and looked forward to meeting him some day. I am happy and proud that today, I did not only meet him but I also shook hands with him, I am talking about the Governor of Borno state, Professor Babagana Zulum.
“I am proud of him and I am also happy that from what I saw in him today, I was not disappointed. Your Excellency, please keep it up,” he said.
Governor Zulum was a special guest at the conference jointly organized by the Victims Support Fund and the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.
The conference had in attendance, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was special guest of honour, minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, senior military leaders, executives of the victims support fund, dozens of academic researchers on different aspects of security and participants.
Contributing to the conference, Zulum commended the Nigerian Military for their immense contributions to the fight against boko haram in Borno State.
However, he observed that digging of trenches around communities is not a sustainable strategy against the insurgents but rather taking the war to the insurgents is what will accelerate peace building efforts that will pave way for displaced citizens to return to safe and rebuilt communities.
Delivering the conference keynote address, former Minister of Defence, General Agwai (Rtd) called for a change of tactics by the Nigerian military in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast.
Agwai, who was also Chief of Army Staff and a war time Commander for UN and African Union troops on different peace missions abroad, said intelligence gathering was key in winning wars particularly with insurgents.
He called for more collaborations between the military and the media, insisting that the military must make concerted effort to gain the trust of the media through sincere relationship.
He also advised Nigerians to give birth to children they can comfortably cater for in order to address street begging by out- of-school children which oftentimes, he said, creates fertile grounds fro criminal recruitments.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by National Security Adviser, Major General Mohammed Monguno (rtd), praised the military and urged them to take the lead in the fight against terrorism in the African continent.
Also, the Minister of Internal affairs, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, charged the military to brace up for the challenge of ending the boko haram.
In his welcome remarks, the Executive Director of Victims Support Fund, (VSF), Prof. Sunday Ochoche, said the three-day program was designed to evaluate the nature, evolution and root causes of Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria as well as the external ramifications for Nigeria, Africa and the world.
He said experts were invited to critically examine the national architecture for counter-insurgency with a view to understanding its structure, operations, and functionality as well as proffer solutions for defence and strategic security policy.