The deadline, which was earlier given by Buratai to the commander on July 21, 2017, expired on August 30, 2017.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, said in a statement on Friday that the commander requested for an extension of the order to capture Shekau, which was granted by Buratai.
However, the statement was silent on the duration of the extended deadline.
Usman said the troops eliminated 82 terrorists during the period and came close to achieving the directive issued by the COAS.
He said, “The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. T.Y. Buratai, has commended the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, his sector commanders and all troops of Operation Lafiya Dole for pursuing the COAS directive of capturing the purported Boko Haram terrorists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, dead or alive, within 40 days beginning on July 21, 2017, which elapsed on August 30, 2017.
“Although the leader has not been captured, the COAS noted with satisfaction the zeal and determination with which the directive was pursued. He congratulated the commander for eliminating five key leaders of the terrorist group that were the closest associates and right-hand men of the terrorist group leader.
“The Theatre Commander has asked for the extension of the deadline and it has been granted by the COAS.”
Usman said with the killing of the 82 terrorists and the top five Boko Haram commanders, Shekau was no longer of any consequence. He enjoined the people of the area to go about their business and have confidence in the capacity of the troops to protect them.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the Nigerian Air Force currently has a credit line of up to $200,000 for the supply of spare parts by some foreign companies as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to totally rid the country of insurgency and upgrade the equipment of NAF.
Speaking to journalists on Friday during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration at Oro, Kwara State, the minister noted that there was no resurgence of Boko Haram in the Northeastern part of Nigeria and that Nigerian troops were daily living up to their constitutional responsibility of maintaining the nation’s territorial integrity.
He said even though there were still some bombings and kidnappings, there had been a great improvement in the fight against Boko Haram, especially when compared to the situation when the President assumed office in 2015.
He added, “As we celebrate this festival of sacrifice, we owe the marked improvement in the security situation in our country in general and the North-East, in particular, to the men and women in uniform, who have sacrificed so much to make our country safer than at any other time since the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2009.
“So, as we celebrate today, we should all remember our troops in our prayers and continue to support them, instead of dwelling on the Boko Haram resurgence that never was. The media must deny the insurgents the oxygen they desperately crave to survive, which is publicity.”