Obviously feeling the heat of the devastation of their contiguous territories by the Boko Haram terrorists and the recent threat by their leader, Abubakar Shekau, to unleash further mayhem on the countries of the Lake Chad basin, the Nigerian military and those of her hitherto reluctant neighbours have finally reached an agreement to push out the Islamists from their havens.
In a related development, the Nigerian military indicated on Friday that it would soon launch a major offensive against the terrorists in a determined bid to push them out of the strategic town of Baga, Borno State, which fell to Boko Haram two weeks ago.
THISDAY confirmed from a top military source that Nigerian had finally secured the commitment of neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroun and Niger in order to effectively eliminate the terrorists from their respective territories.
This agreement, according to the source, became possible because the once uncooperative neighbours are now feeling the consequences of habouring the terrorists, especially Chad whose access to Nigerian food imports had been cut off since the fall of Baga.
"The new arrangement is for every country to take care of their territories and ensure that these terrorists do not use their respective countries as a haven. Chad in particular and Cameroun have now realised the danger posed by continuing to allow terrorists free movement across the borders,” said a top military source.
THISDAY further gathered that political authorities in all the concerned countries are more than ever disturbed and as well embarrassed by the video Shekau released recently mocking and threatening their respective governments and territories.
Speaking also, a senior military officer expressed disappointment that the video had helped to expose and buttress the fact that the inability to deal with the terrorists was not lack of weapon as being championed in the international and local media.
"You can see that from the latest video released by the terror group, claiming that with the arms and ammunitions captured from the fleeing Nigerian troops, they already have enough weapons to take on Nigeria and her neighbours.
"This has helped to expose to an extent, what we have been saying all this while that the problem with our soldiers is not lack of weapons but pure acts of cowardice, encouraged and engineered by the moles within them whose sole aim is to sabotage the operations.
"So, the roles have been divided. Each country will sweep the terrorists from their side, while we do the same starting from Baga. The arrangement on hot pursuit of the terrorists will be honoured this time around," the source added.
Consequently, the intelligence officer revealed massive deployment of land, air and amphibious (water via Lake Chad) assets, which will feature in the operation to rescue Baga.
The Officer in a terse document obtained by THISDAY said: "Nigerian military is reviewing strategy in the combat against terrorists to accommodate joint and combined operations with neighbouring military organisations.
“The deployment for the mission is expected to facilitate the elimination of havens and escape routes of terrorists in or out of Nigeria.
"We have enlisted the support of the military forces of neighbouring countries towards ensuring the success of the plan to effectively block the terrorists and eliminate them while."
According to the Office, "if things go as planned, the operation will commence Friday night and we will like to see stability and peace returning to the North-eastern part of the country before next month's general elections"
Responding to THISDAY inquiries, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, confirmed the planned operations.
"I can confirm that all plans are ongoing. A lot are ongoing and you will see the result very soon. I will also want to assure you that the military will not relent in its efforts to restore peace to every part of the country as quickly as possible," Olukolade said.
He also confirmed that there is already a new agreement, which will ensure that all the countries bordering Nigeria comply with the efforts to rid terrorists from the Lake Chad Basin.
UN supports Nigeria’s counter-terrorism efforts…
Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the United Nation (UN) Secretary-General for West Africa Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas has expressed the support of the United Nations to Nigeria’s effort in her on-going counter-terrorism campaign.
Chambas gave this pledge when he visited the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh at Defence Headquarters, in Abuja on Thursday. The Envoy said the United Nation would be ready to give Nigeria all the needed support to counter terrorism. He advocated collaboration with neighbouring countries in the efforts to defeat terrorism.