Yakubu Gowon, a former head of state, has come against President Muhammadu Buhari over the deadline for crushing the Boko Haram insurgency.
Nigerian president had given the task to the army to end the deadly sect in three months, ending December 2015.
The Nigerian Army has said it would meet the three-month deadline.
On his own part, Gowon expressed “absolute confidence” in the ability of the Nigerian armed forces to crush Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, he warned that no person can surely talk about the specific time a military operation would end.
Former head of state noted this in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, when he led an advocacy team on malaria and four other ignored tropical diseases, on a visited to governor David Umahi.
He said: “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 Mr. Gowon, who was the military leader during Nigeria’s civil war between 1967 and 1970.
Gowon further added: “May the spirits of these poor little children who are being brainwashed to carry out such heinous crimes rest in peace.”
He appreciated Buhari that his government has done much since its coming to office in May, to wipe out the deadly group.
Gowon advised Nigerians to pray saying “prayer is an alternative and the most effective weapon to defeat Boko Haram”.
“With prayers, God will touch their hearts (Boko Haram) to change for better,” he added.
Former head of state said the era of the terrorists being in control was over as the military was on the winning side.
President Buhari left Abuja today, October 27, for New Delhi to take part in the third summit of the India-Africa forum on climate change and international terrorism.