In an apparent effort to boost the morale of soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the North-east, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called off his five-day casual leave as a mark of respect for the victims of the insurgents’ attacks across the battlefields in the region.
He is, according to presidency sources, also scheduled to visit the troops at the theatre of war shortly.
Buhari had planned to spend the casual leave at his home country, Daura, Katsina State from November 27 to December 2. He had earlier cancelled his official trip to Benin City, the Edo State capital, where he was originally billed to inaugurate the Edo-Azura Power Plant and grace the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference.
Presidency sources said the cancellation of the trips would also enable the president to continue his on-going meetings and consultations with relevant security and community intelligence personnel aimed at addressing the worsening security challenges. Buhari is expected to declare open today, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference, which was moved from Benin City to Maiduguri, Borno State, at the Government House Conference Hall and use the opportunity to visit troops fighting Boko Haram.
The presidential visit comes after months of deadly raids by the IS-affiliated jihadists on military bases, which have left scores of troops dead or missing in the volatile North-east. In a posting on Twitter on Monday, presidential spokesman, Mr. Bashir Ahmad, said Buhari would attend the army conference in Maiduguri as well as address troops to boost their morale. “President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled his planned official visit to Benin, Edo State tomorrow, to visit Maiduguri, Borno State on Wednesday,” he wrote.
The president had severally noted that fighting terrorism had taken a global dimension, which necessitated international collaboration among states facing similar security challenges. He had reassured Nigerians of his continued commitment to their security and of his efforts to sustain the momentum in the previous significant successes recorded against the terrorists, advising Nigerians against making a political capital out of the national tragedy.