The Federal Government announced on Thursday that in 2021, the military neutralized 1,927 terrorists and bandits while rescuing 3,831 civilians in various operations.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said this at a media briefing on Thursday in Lagos, adding that over 22,000 terrorists, including their families, surrendered in the North-East Zone last year.
The purpose of the briefing was to highlight the accomplishments of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the year 2021.
The minister, who identified insecurity as the administration’s biggest challenge in the previous year, said the military had continued to live up to its reputation.
He said the Nigerian Armed Forces had set up various operations across the country to keep the country safe, including the Joint Task Force in the North East, dubbed Operation Hadin Kai.
According to him, more than 1,000 terrorists were killed in the North East as a result of a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic operations, while Operation Hadin Kai rescued 2000 civilians.
He claimed that a large number of arms and ammunition had been recovered, as well as the destruction of several IED/bomb-making factories belonging to the ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists.
According to Mohammed, 427 bandits were neutralized during Operation Hadarin Daji in the North West Zone as a result of offensive clearance operations, raids, and air operations.
In the zone, 257 bandits were apprehended, 897 civilians were rescued, and 3,087 livestock were rescued, according to him.
“Operation Whirl Punch, which covered parts of Kaduna, killed 215 bandits, arrested 133, rescued 296 civilians, and recovered 136 livestock.”
“Three-hundred and sixty-six bandits were killed, 74 were arrested, 296 civilians were rescued, and 136 animals were recovered during Operation Thunder Strike.
“In the North Central, Operation Safe Haven raids and clearance operations resulted in the neutralization of 91 criminal elements, the arrest of 155 suspects, the rescue of 159 civilians, and the recovery of 3,259 livestock.
“Operation Whirl Stroke, for its part, neutralized 158 criminals, arrested 151 suspects, and rescued 183 civilians,” he said.
According to the minister, President Buhari’s leadership and the armed forces and leadership’s unwavering commitment boosted the military’s effectiveness.
He added that the acquisition of modern platforms for the armed forces had helped them improve their operational readiness and efficiency.
“To improve its equipment holding, the Nigerian Army purchased 160 MRAPS, 150 trucks, and 60 APCs during the period under review.”
“Various kits were provided for troops, in addition to providing accommodation for troops and recruiting over 10,000 people into the army,” he said.
The Nigerian Navy, for its part, has commissioned the FALCON EYE Maritime Domain Awareness Capability, according to the minister.
He added that the Navy commissioned the third locally built Seaward Defence Boat, one helicopter, four inshore patrol boats, and 90 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats during the year, and that over 1,500 people were recruited into the Navy.
The Nigerian Air Force received 12 Super Tucanos, three JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft, and other platforms, according to Mohammed, with which it conducted several air interdictions.
According to him, the Air Force also provided close air support to ground troops and destroyed a number of illegal structures and equipment belonging to terrorists, bandits, and other criminals.
Nigeria’s Armed Forces, according to the minister, have made significant contributions to international peace and security efforts.
He went on to say that the Armed Forces took part in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission.
Mission in Mali and the ECOWAS Military Intervention in Gambia, a regional initiative.
The minister pledged that the military would not rest on its laurels in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, particularly in the run-up to the 2023 elections, in order to address the myriad of evolving contemporary threats.