By Mohammed Ali
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai is from Borno State in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. But that is not why the people of that geo-political zone love him.
Everytime the name of the Chief of Army Staff comes up in discussions in the region, the peoples’countenance brighten and their spirits lifted.
This is as a result of what the Chief of Army Staff has done to restore normalcy and hope in their lives by giving a sense of belonging that the country can protect them from constant attacks, intimidation, mass murder, torture and other forms of abuses.
The above scenario has come to represent the lot of the people of the region before the coming of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It was a dark period for the people when all forms of bringandage were being unleashed on them without let.
Out of the six states in the Northeast, only one, Taraba could claim to.have suffered only minimally from the devastating effects of terrorism and insurgency that was ravaging that zone.
The remaining five, Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe saw real terror and other forms of dehumanization that they cannot forget in a hurry.
This was the region where teenage boys in secondary were slaughtered in one night, over 200 school girls were adopted, communities sacked and surviving members of the comuntuues left to die in bushes and desert stretches and families permanently displaced with no hope of reuniting.
Other parts of the country also felt the heat as bombings, mass shootings, and executions imcteased leaving hundreds including law enforcement officers, and civilians dead .
Out of the six states in the Northeast, three states were regarded as the main theaters of conflict hence the most severe impact of terrorism were felt in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states where violent deaths were becoming the order of day.
The entire social and economic infrastructure in those states collapsed with the poorhealth situation in those stayes worsening, schools remaiing permanently closed and many living as refugees in neighbouring countries, or internally displaced within the country
Sexual violence and kidnapping became upscale.
This is not to talk of markets, churches, mosques, roads, homes that have been destroyed.
But with the coming of Buratai as Chief of Army Staff in 2015, troops were able to penetrate the fortresses of the insurgents and freed many that were held captives.
Local governments that were.taken over by the insurgents were.recaptured and brought under the control of Nigeria and order was restored while general services in health and other public institutions resumed.
Families that were separated for.long were reunited, those that fled to other countries as refugees began to return and camps of Internally Displaced Persons were emptied as many returned to their communities.
The Chief of Army Staff also added value to the lives of the people of the region by building an army university in Biu, one of the local governments being targeted by the insurgents.
Added to that, Lt. Gen. Buratai also the established Nigerian Army Brigades in Monguno, Gubio, Gwoza, Damaturu and Damboa to enhance security in the area.
The designation of Sambisa Forest as Nigerian Army Training Area and the establishment of Command Secondary Schools have added to the security in the region and raised the standard of living of the people.
States like Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi and even Adamawa have since put the horrors of the insurgents behind them and are living normal lives all thanks to the efforts of troops.
These days,.when movement of insurgents are sighted in the region, the people are not alarmed as they know that they will definitely be crushed by the ever ready troops in the area.
This is why Buratai is highly loved and respected in the region. He has given the people their lives back.