General Khalifa was a former General Officer Commanding at the 7 Division of the Nigeria Army and the Commander of the troops of Sector-1 of the Operation Hadin Kai Theatre command until he left on March 15, 2021.
Though returning to familiar terrain, the new field commander of MNJTF headquartered in Chad said his visit to the Theatre Command in Maiduguri is part of his concluding familiarisation visits to all formations within and around Lake Chad which is part of the MNJTF area of responsibility.
Accompanied by other top members of the management team of the MNJTF drawn from the riparian countries of Lake Chad – consisting of Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Nigeria, General Khalifa said his force craves a better and improved synergy to flush out the Boko Haram menace off the basin.
“I am here today to meet with the headquarters of Operation Hadin Kai and to formally inform them that I have taken over as the force commander of the MNJTF,” said General Khalifa.
“Having visited all my sectors and met with all my sub-commanders I felt it is important that I should be here at the headquarters of the Ops Hadin Kai to chart the course forward.”
General Khalifa said having taken over the command of MNJTF, he has observed many people including officers of the Nigeria military have little understanding of the responsibilities of the MNJTF as it concerns the Nigerian state.
“There is this feeling even amongst officers that it is a foreign operation, but it is an operation that affects all of us, especially we from Nigeria. At the risk of not reducing the participation and importance of other sister countries in the operation, if you look at the history of the crisis that we are trying to tackle, one would see that it is largely a Nigerian issue.”
“We are here to brief the theatre command and see how we can explore common interests and how we can collectively tackle some of the challenges we are faced with a better synergy that will free our areas of responsibility for these insurgents.”
He reminded that the Lake Chad basin is a joint AOP for the MNJTF and the Operation Hadin Kai theatre command. Hence, he called for “close synergy, close operation and common interaction.”
He commended the Theatre Commander for “doing a very good job especially for the noticeable improvement in the security network since he took over the command of the Theatre.
Theatre Commander Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Chris Musa, who had thanked the visiting general for the courtesy, said this event marked the day as a special one for the officers and troops under Operation Hadin Kai.
He said the insurgency in the northeast in Nigeria, which has been going on for about 12 years now, “is hopefully coming to an end.”
“We can now see the hallmark of peace coming in finally,” the TC said. “Your coming here today is significant because it allows us to officially now sit and re-discuss all those issues that we have been talking about long before God placed us on the seat of decision.”
The top soldiers later went into a closed-door meeting that lasted about two hours at the tactical briefing room of Operation Hadin Kai.