The Senate Committee on Defence and Army yesterday grilled the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, over what actually transpired in the aborted ceasefire deal purportedly entered between federal government and the Boko Haram insurgents.
The chairman of the Senate committee on Defence and Army, Gorge Sekibo told the army chief that Nigerians were getting impatient and irritated not only with the military, but also with the government and those who represent them at various levels.
His words: “At the last meeting we were told that the insurgents have captured seven local government areas. The CDS confirmed that and asked that they should be given some time to liberate the captured areas.
“We want to know where we are. We are approaching election year, are we going to conduct election in the North East under the dire security challenge? These are our concerns and the concerns of Nigerians.”
Sekibo then asked Minimah to respond to the issues he highlighted.
Minimah, who appeared not very comfortable to speak, said “I came to interface with the Senate Committee on Defence; can the press leave us?”, insisting that operational matters were never discussed on the pages of the newspapers.
But Sekibo, pressurizing the Army chief to talk, asked Minimah to “just reassure Nigerians that the military is on top of the security situation in the affected areas.”
However, the Army Chief insisted that he would not discuss security matters in the presence of the press, even after intervention by other members of the committee, but Minimah stood his ground.
Meanwhile, after the meeting, the COAS, while briefing the press, assured Nigerians that the military would reclaim lost territories from the Boko Haram.
The Committee had invited other Service Chiefs; however, only the Chief of Army Staff, Minimah appeared for the meeting to represent the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh.