Nigerian military moves HQ to Maiduguri

Nigeria's military says the move to Maiduguri will improve its response to Boko Haram

Nigeria’s military says the move to Maiduguri will improve its response to Boko Haram

Nigeria’s military has begun moving its headquarters to the northern town of Maiduguri, close to the centre of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

The move would “add impetus and renewed vigour” to the fight against terrorism, a military statement said.

A military advance team began work in Maiduguri yesterday, the statement said, as part of plans to move the command and control centre from Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari took office last month, vowing to beat Boko Haram.

He announced that the military would move its headquarters to Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, in his inaugural speech on 29 May.

BBC Africa security correspondent Tomi Oladipo says the move aims to centralise operations, cut bureaucracy and speed up decision-making.

He says the policy and administrative arms of the military have been accused of being detached from the reality of the frontline, with the authorities in the past having denied or downplayed troops’ demands for better equipment and welfare.

The military statement said the new centre in Maiduguri would serve as “a forward command base for the chief of army staff and other service chiefs”.

The move would boost the campaign against Boko Haram – known as Operation Restore Peace – without creating “another layer of command structure”, the statement said.

A similar command structure is being established in nearby Yola, it said. Air force operations are expected to be launched from the town.

Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri more than 10 years ago, and has carried out several attacks there.

The Islamist group has lost most of its territory in recent months, as the Nigerian military has retaken towns and villages in the north-east, backed by the forces of neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.


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