By Hamza Suleiman
Nigerian Army has started a 30-day public awareness against violent religious extremism in the North East, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai, says.
Buratai made this known at the launch of the sensitisation in Maiduguri on Monday.
Represented by Maj.-Gen. David Ahmadu, the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army, Buratai said the sensitisation was to counter extremist ideologies and orientation in the society.
He said the exercise would majorly focus on clerics and dangers associated with religious extremism and how the clerics could help to address the menace.
He explained that the sensitisation was imperative to disprove the false teachings, misleading and fabricated ideologies of insurgents.
Buratai said that the exercise was part of efforts to contain the spread of negative ideologies and bring about ideologies that promote love, peace and unity in the society.
He added that the Nigeria Army had initiated deradicalisation programme to facilitate rehabilitation and reintegration into the society of surrendered Boko Haram insurgents.
“The Nigerian Army also engaged in various operations to ensure security, peace and unity in country.
“Operation Python Dance II is one of them and it is ongoing and reports indicated that a lot has been achieved toward enhancing peace in may parts of the country.”
Buratai noted that the independence visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to troops of “Operation Lafiya Dole” in Maiduguri was a morale booster to them.
He reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to be loyal and disciplined toward building a stable and peaceful democratic society.
He said “we must work toward restoring peace in our dear country, especially in the North-East region”.
The chief of army staff urged parents to ensure proper moral upbringing of their wards, to enable them to become responsible citizens.
He also tasked community and religious leaders, as well as stakeholders to work together toward promoting unity and peaceful coexistence in the country.
Dr Umar Inyass, an Islamic cleric, thanked the President for the visit.
He said religious leaders had greater roles to play in promoting tolerance and peace building, noting that “we must desist from separatism; we must preach love, peace and unity in the society”.
In his remarks, Gov. Kashim Shettima said the state government would continue to create an enabling environment for the military to operate in its task against Boko Haram insurgency.
Represented by Alhaji Kakashehu Lawal, the Commissioner of Justice, Shettima said the ban on prostitution and other forms of anti-social activities in the state was being enforced.
He said those found wanting would be severely dealt with by law enforcement agencies.