Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The presidency late last night in Abuja claimed that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had made Nigeria safer than it met it, saying unlike the trend in 2015 when the president assumed office, Boko Haram has now been degraded and confined to rural areas, while the real Boko Haram had been defeated.
According to the presidency, what is in existence now is only a mixture of the remnants of Boko Haram, some fugitive criminals and Islam in Maghreb conniving with Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists, whom it said emerged as a fall out of the collapse of the Libyan State, the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said when the president assumed office, the terrorist group was controlling a territory up to the size of Belgium while emirs and chiefs were forced to flee their domains along with thousands of citizens.
The statement argued that the situation is quite different now with only pockets of attacks in Yobe and Adamawa states, adding that the armed forces were changing their strategies now especially with the recent launch of what he described as “Super Camps.”
“At the moment, the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari has made the country safer than it met it. In 2015 when he took power, Boko Haram terrorism was active in nearly half the number of states in the country.
“They controlled a territory the size of Belgium, with a flag and systems of administration and taxation of their own. Emirs and Chiefs had fled their domains along with hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens. Such is no more; they have been taken from them.
“At present, terrorist activities have been confined to the remote, rural agrarian areas of Borno State and pockets of outrages in Adamawa and Yobe States.
“As the situation develops, our fantastic armed forces are changing their tactics. Just recently, they launched ‘Super Camps.’ The essence of this is to act proactively and respond quickly to the changing nature of terrorism,” the statement said in part.
The statement, which added that the country was receiving collaborative supports from foreign nations, also said the federal government was spending huge sums of money to procure weapons to ensure that the military is well equipped.
It also said the Super Tucano aircraft for which the federal government had paid money to the United States would be arriving the country from early 2020, pointing out that the government is monitoring the porous borders through electronic and digital devices.
The statement which also said the North-east Development Commission was set up to fast track development and eradicate poverty in the war torn zone, added that the administration of Buhari was encouraged by the degree of successes recorded so far by the armed forces.
It also said the Islamic West African Province would be defeated the same way Boko Haram had been defeated.
“In addition to the additional support the government of Nigeria is receiving from friendly countries across Europe, United States and the Middle East, the Nigerian government is spending large sums of money in weapons procurement to keep our military in good fighting shape.
“While the military arsenal is not something you pay for and get, requiring mostly long-time orders, weapons will come in accordance with the terms of contracts. This country is expecting the commencement of the delivery of Super Tucano fighter jets, very effective in this kind of warfare, beginning next year from the United States.
“The administration has embarked on an ambitious electronic/digital border monitoring scheme to curtail the porosity of the borders and, working with the UN agencies, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, donor agencies and friendly countries, has started providing solutions to backwardness in development and poverty in the sub-region because at the very heart of recruitment schemes of the terrorists lies the issue of poverty.
“A few weeks ago, the administration inaugurated the Northeast Development Commission, to fast track development and poverty eradication in the affected areas.
“The Buhari administration is strongly encouraged by successes recorded so far by our armed forces and the MNJTF, and is optimistic that in the same way as our military defeated the Boko Haram, so would the ISWA terrorism be defeated,” the statement added.