Defence minister Mansur Dan-Ali said on Thursday that the Federal Government had so far freed more than 4000 persons held hostage by Boko Haram insurgents.

“More than 4,000 Boko Haram captives have been freed; the figure includes the 106 Chibok girls that were abducted in 2014,” Dan-Ali said in Jos, in a keynote address at a two-day retreat organised by the ministry.

The retreat, holding at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), has the theme: “Enhancing civil-military relations, a panacea for promoting security and national development”.

He said, however, that more needed to be done to consolidate on the efforts to sustain the peace and security currently enjoyed.

“For more to be achieved, the military components of the ministry and the civilians must work hard, understand each other and have mutual respect and trust,” he said.

Dan-Ali said that the combined efforts of members of the armed forces had successfully degraded the Boko Haram insurgents, making it difficult for members to regroup and carry out organised attacks.

Also speaking, Plateau Governor Simon Lalong described the retreat, targeted at enhancing civil-military relationship, as “apt and of great significance”.

Lalong said that Plateau had had its share of security challenges and had seen how collaborations between the military and civilians had ensured quick resolution of internal conflicts.

The governor called for more bridges of understanding between the military and civilians, saying that such unity was key to effective discharge of constitutional duties.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogora, in his remarks, declared that power was not in the barrel of the gun but in the content of the heart.

“Holding guns and ranks should not give anyone a sense of superiority over members of the society; it should be a humbling factor and be managed with a great sense of responsibility,” he said.

Dogara, however, urged civilians to respect constituted authorities and embrace regular dialogue on matters of national importance. 

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