Former chief of defence staff, General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd), has extolled the leadership style of Borno’s Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.
Agwai, who was also chief of army staff and a war time commander for UN and African union troops on different peace missions abroad, spoke at an international conference on “Insurgency and counter insurgency in Nigeria: Critical perspectives on Boko Haram”, which took place on Tuesday in Abuja.
Speaking before he delivered a keynote address Agwai, a highly decorated General, said for long he had hoped to meet Governor Zulum because of his performance within the short time of being Governor of Borno.
“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 Umara 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,” General Agwai said.
Governor Zulum was special guest at the conference that was jointly organized by the Victims Support Fund and the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.
The international 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, Governor Zulum commended the Nigerian Military for their immense contributions to the fight against boko haram in Borno State but he also observed that the 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 and rebuilt communities.
Delivering the conference keynote address, former minister of defence, General Martin Luther Agwai (retired) called for a change of tactics by the Nigerian military in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria.
Gen Agwai, who had also served as Chief of Army Staff and war time commandant of UN and African Union troops on peace missions, said intelligence gathering was key in winning wars particularly with insurgents.
Gen Agwai also 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 take care of 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 Babagana Monguno (rtd), praised the military and urged them to take the lead in the fight against terrorism in the African continent.
Minister of Internal affairs, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola also charged the military to braced up for the challenge of ending the Boko Haram.
In his welcome remark, 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.