Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan said the success of his administration’s Transformation Agenda was responsible for the intensification of terror war against Nigeria by Boko Haram sect.
The President made this remark in Paris, France, on Saturday at the Regional Summit on Security in Nigeria.
The speech was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
In it, Jonathan said that his administration’s successes evident in the growth of the economy and increasing opportunities for people, were symbols of failure of the terror group.
The President said the unconventional war by the terror group had so far claimed over 12,000 lives, with more than 8,000 persons injured or maimed, besides the displacement of thousands of innocent ones.
Jonathan noted that Boko Haran was not anymore a challenge to Nigeria alone but a regional and global threat.
He noted that Boko Haram started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria.
“It had evolved into the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against civilisation, our way of life, and against the many prospects of stability in our region.
“The Boko Haram Sect emerged in 2002 while its insurgency phase started as far back as 2009.
He explained that the group was officially known as the Jamaa’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’wati Wal Jihad, which in English means “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.”
Jonathan added that the group was more commonly identified with its motivating principle, and referred to as Boko Haram which literally means, Western or non-Islamic education is prohibited.
“The group is hostile to democracy; it uses every means to indoctrinate its members; its ultimate objective is to destabilise the country, and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a base of operation in West Africa and the entire continent.
“Since 2009, we have had to contend with many attacks and killings, which have now developed into a full-scale war targeting the stability and integrity of our nation.
“Boko Haram has launched a vicious guerrilla-style campaign against the government and the people of Nigeria.
“It has attacked schools, slaughtered students in their dormitories, destroyed villages, communities and government infrastructure and has wreaked havoc on the economic and social life of our people’’, he said.
The President said that terrorists activities had also been felt across Nigerian borders particularly in Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
He said that border and cross-border attacks had taken place with Boko Haram terrorists seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
“So many Nigerians, fleeing from terror attacks, have also become refugees in our neighbouring countries creating additional burden (security and financial) in those countries.
Jonathan said it was imperative to explore and adopt a regional and global approach to addressing the insurgency and menace because of the regional and global character of the terrorists’ campaign.
“Indeed, in the spirit of collective regional security, it is important that we accept that an attack on one country is an attack on all of us and our common humanity.
“It is equally important that we accept the principle of hot pursuit of terrorists in the context of joint border patrols and cooperation.
“This is in order to deny them sanctuaries and make it impossible for them to take refuge in each other’s territory’’, he said.
The President underscored the need for the region to do more to restore security along the common borders, focusing especially on the actualisation of the mandate of the Multinational Task Force on the Lake Chad Basin.
The President highlighted the efforts of his government in dealing with the insurgents, noting that in addition to military operation, the administration had adopted “a soft approach” to combating the insurgency.
He said the administration had implemented short, medium and long-term measures to mitigate the impact on the people and the entire country.
“Our focus along this line has mainly been in form of the introduction of robust educational programme in the northern states to reduce the number of out-of-school children and empower the youths.
“We have launched economic recovery programmes to create jobs, while also providing infrastructure, which unfortunately is heavily threatened by the terror attacks.
“Other measures include the introduction of de-radicalisation programmes for convicted terrorists and suspects awaiting trial, and the promotion of opportunities for dialogue and collaboration with critical stakeholders from the region’’, he said.