A former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on Tuesday disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian military over the December deadline for ending the Boko Haram insurgency.

President Buhari had tasked the military to end insurgency in three months, ending December 2015. The military had said it would meet the schedule.

General Gowon stated this in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, when he led an advocacy team on malaria and four other neglected tropical diseases, on a visit to Governor David Umahi.

General Gowon said the military would do its best to meet the December deadline, expressing “absolute confidence” in the ability of the Nigerian Armed Forces to defeat Boko Haram.

He, however, warned that no person could confidently say the particular time military operation would end.

“I can tell you this, nobody can really talk about when any particular operation is going to end. And as a (former) Commander-in-Chief, I know this.

“Yes, you can say you target a particular time, but it may finish before that time or it may go slightly beyond. To end it, that is the most important thing.

“I assure you that I have absolute confidence in our military that they are going to really deal with the situation as they are doing at the moment,” said Gowon, who was the military leader during Nigeria’s civil war between 1967 and 1970.

He expressed worry that the insurgents are now using underage and innocent children as suicide bombers.

“May the spirits of these poor little children who are being brainwashed to carry out such heinous crimes rest in peace,” he added.

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Gowon, who hailed the success recorded by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the fight against Boko Haram noted that President Buhari’s administration has been working hard to wipe out the sect since assuming office in May 29.

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