Gen. Buratai spoke at Camp Zairo, the former command and control centre of the terrorists in the Sambisa forest during an operational visit to troops.
In 2017, the army chief gave troops a 40-day ultimatum to capture Shekau. The army last week offered a N3 million reward for information on the terrorist.
Troops destroyed the camp in January in an operation tagged “Deep Punch II’’ and are now dominating the general area of the forest.
The military sacked Shekau from the camp in December, 2016 but the terrorists have been launching pockets of attacks.
Other locations visited by Gen. Buratai are Bita and Tukumbere, all settlements within the forest but almost deserted due to the insurgency.
“Let me say congratulations. But, we must move across to wherever this criminal, Shekau is and catch him red handed. I want you to get him.
“Mr President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces says ‘congratulations’ to all of you for recovering the Sambisa Forest.
“As far as we are concerned, we have come to the end of this operation (clearing the forest of remnants of terrorists).
“What is remaining now is the Lake Chad waters only and we hope to do that (clear terrorists from it) also very soon.
“You all know these criminals are still on the run; these guys are on the run, you must make sure that you get them wherever they are around this area.
“You must not allow them to escape. Everyday, you must go on patrol, lay ambush for them and you go on raids.
“This is the time we have to consolidate and ensure that this place – Sambisa forest – is safe and never for these criminals to come back to it,’’ Gen. Buratai told the troops.