General Tukur Buratai: A General Extraordinaire
General Tukur Buratai: A General Extraordinaire
Preceding his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, the military was losing its officers and men in large numbers.
Thus, Buratai’s drive was to improve on the military’s operational achievements
Within three months of his appointment, Buratai verified his leadership capability by showing that he indeed understood the terrain of the North East, the epicenter of the insurgency. He took the war to Boko Haram and his soldiers recaptured and hoisted the Nigerian flag in Gamboru Ngala, which served as Boko Haram’s main operational base.
The insurgents were chased to their Sambisa Forest hideout where troops of the Operation Lafia Dole proudly displayed vital insignias of the sect including a Holy Quran and flags of the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, on national television to the admiration of Nigerians.
Suleiman Uba Gaya of prnigeria.com wrote that the five years stewardship of General Buratai as Army Chief saw to many exercises being established.The introduction of realistic training exercises were among the visionary legacies of General Buratai, The exercises conducted during that time included HARBIN KUNAMA, CRICODILE SMILE, AYAM AKPATUMA, PYTHON DANCE-and SAHEL SANITY, all of which were both visionary and strategic. With the conduct of the exercises two major objectives were achieved.
One was training of the Nigerian Army officers and soldiers in Tactics, Techniques and Procedures in internal security operations. Secondly, it also contributed to national security improvement where security challenges across the geopolitical zones of the country were addressed decisively.
His concentration was centered on identifying the most pressing problems that troops and their families were facing, the needs associated with those challenges, and he utilized the resources available to meet those needs.
It was also to his credit that the fighting troops were provided with constant water supply to meet their daily needs and to stabilize them emotionally and psychologically. As part of efforts to encourage his men, General Buratai on Tuesday July 25, 2017 approved the promotion of 6,199 soldiers involved in the fight against Boko Haram under his watch.
The Reorganisation of the Army towards professionalism was a major highlight of General Tukur Buratai’s tenure, in an article written by Oghenahogie Oshoko, the Nigerian Army witnessed a lot of reorganization and injection of modern equipment, platforms and hardwares in a bid to improve the overall operational responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency. It is on record that new divisions and new commands have been created namely 6 Division Portharcourt, 7 Division Maiduguri and 8 Division Sokoto to combat terrorism and the lingering insecurity across the country.
Also Special Forces Command, Nigerian Army Women Corps, NA Special Forces Training School in Buni Yadi Yobe State and Cyber Warfare Command among many institutional reforms created by the COAS for the present and indeed more profoundly future benefits of Nigeria.
The army under Gen Buratai conducted Operation Last Hold designed to further degrade Boko haram terrorists, facilitate the relocation of IDPs back to their communities as well as to promote excellent civil-military relations which have so far yielded the desired results and require collaborative efforts and supports from relevant stakeholders to consolidate on this achievement. It is important to state that through Operation Last Hold, over 5,000 idps have returned to their communities in Northern Borno State as reported by the media.
Training and retraining of Nigerian army personnel has always been the uppermost priorities of General Buratai.
In the Year 2018, a total of 156 personnel have attended foreign courses while 2,390 have attended courses and training programs here in Nigeria ranging from masters degree programs to workshops, seminars and conferences.
The Nigerian army has also hosted over 300 local and international conferences, seminars or workshops either solely or in-conjunction with other relevant bodies.
In the basic responsibilities of a leader which include accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of the soldiers, Buratai was not found wanting.
He established Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches, built and commissioned block of flats at Jaji, Khobe Cantonment, Jos in Plateau State and the Danjuma Chalets at 2 Division Headquarters. The former Army chief also renovated a lot of projects he met on ground and initiated water projects including the Supply and Transport Foods and new Command Guest Houses.
The provision of adequate health care to Army personnel and their families was one of his highest priorities. From January 2018 to date, many officers and soldiers have benefited from the Nigerian Army Medical Evacuation both within and outside the Country.
[2(A)] Detailed accomplishments in areas of force development and training during the Tukur Buratai leadership includes:
• Setting up the Nigerian army institute of technology and environmental studies in Biu, Borno state
• Command secondary school (boys & girls) in kebbi state.
• Nigerian army aviation hangar at jaji airstrip, kaduna.
• Mine resistance amour protected (mrap).
• The Nigerian army Special forces school.
• Nigerian army cyber warfare command.
(2(B))During his tenure as chief of army staff, General Tukur Buratai initiated capacity building projects such as:
• Nigerian army agricultural business enterprise limited.
• 133 special forces battalion.
• Nigerian army bureau de change.
• The supply and transport driving school.
• 133 special forces battalion; 123 special forces battalion.
• Counter terrorist and counter insurgency museum.
• 109 special forces battalion.
• 4 special forces battalion, counter explosive devices.
• 707 special forces brigade.
• Motorcycle battalion.
• Nigerian army investments account; operation lafia dole sectors 1,2 and 3; homes fit for heroes.
• Otukpo post housing development limited estate.
• Buffalo engineering and technical services limited, evolution of new operational concepts, establishment of 6 and 8 divisions, Nigerian languages training initiative.
Evidently, for years to come, history will remember General Yusuf Tukur Buratai, particularly, in areas critically important to Nigerian Army.