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The Nigerian Army on Friday night hosted President Muhammadu Buhari to a Guards Brigade Regimental Dinner and presented the captured Boko Haram flag to him in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the flag was handed over to the President by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. -Gen. Lucky Irabor.
Troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole operating in the North-East had successfully captured “Camp Zero,” the strongest enclave of Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest.
Irabor had said about 1,240 suspected Boko Haram terrorists were arrested during a mop-up operation by troops inside the Sambisa forest.
While receiving the flag, Buhari challenged the armed forces on the need to continue to ensure the survival of Nigeria as a geopolitical entity despite what he described as “political madness” being exhibited in some parts of the country.
According to him, it is duty bound for the army to ensure the sustenance of peaceful co-existence among the over 250 ethnic groups across the country.
“We will do our best to build the national institutions in the country.
“All this political madness in the North-East, the Niger Delta or in the East should not be allowed to cause division or any form of tension in the country.
“There are 250 ethnic groups, so keeping Nigeria one is a task that must be done, even for your personal sake, you must make sure this country remains united and stronger,” he said.
Buhari, while narrating his early military life in Abeokuta and subsequent redeployment to Zaire (now Congo), said he was almost killed while on duty even before enjoying his first salary as an officer.
He said his refusal to adhere to an advice from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to devalue the naira and increase prices of fuel and flour, as a military Head of State, led to his removal.
He said, “As a civilian president, I will do my best and I’m telling you all this because you are part of the leadership of this great country and, God willing, we will remain great.”
In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai urged the officers and men of the Guards Brigade to always maintain the courage and discipline they are known for in 2017 and beyond.
He assured the President that the military would continue their onslaught in the North-East, and would not rest in mopping up of the remnants of Boko Haram fighters.