Nigeria’s military on Wednesday told Boko Haram militants that talks remained an option, as top brass visited troops in the group’s traditional stronghold. To the insurgents, the dialogue table is still open, else the national power is available to the armed forces to crush the insurgency,” army chief of staff Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah said in Maiduguri. Minimah was accompanied on the visit to the city — scene of a daring Boko Haram strike on a military barracks last Friday — by his air force counterpart Air Marshal Adesola Amosu. Minimah gave the advice when he spoke with newsmen shortly after an unscheduled visit to Maiduguri.
He explained that the visit was aimed at assessing the condition of troops on ground as well as boosting their morale in the fight against the insurgents. We are here on routine visit to assess the condition of our troops, to visit the injured and the wounded in the hospital’’, Minimah said. He urged Nigerians to trust the capability of the military to bring an end to the insurgency. On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, AVM Adesola Amosu, said the role of air power is not to destroy but to convince the enemy of the second option available. Essentially, we are here to harass the enemy and to convince them that they need to come either to the table or drop their guns’’, Amosu said.
He expressed satisfaction with the situation on ground.We are happy with the morale of soldiers on the field, we are also happy about the damage we have already inflicted on the insurgents. The soldiers are in high spirit. I am sure our coming today has further lifted them up’’, Amosu said. He said the Nigerian Air Force was to complement the role of the military in the fight against Boko Haram. Some defence analysts have previously urged the government to open channels of communication with more moderate elements within Boko Haram and broaden the counter-insurgency fight to include economic and social development in the impoverished north. On Tuesday, National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki unveiled a new, broader counter-terrorism policy of “soft power” programmes to complement military force.