By BEN AGANDE
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, declined to comment on the reported killing of the leader of Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, by the military, saying it preferred the military which is prosecuting the war against the insurgents to speak on operational matters.
The Joint Task Force had in a statement, said the leader of the sect might have died of injuries sustained in a confrontation with security forces, a claim that has drawn mixed reactions from Nigerians.
But speaking with newsmen, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said though the gains recorded by the military in its operations should be celebrated, “the military should be left to tell their story”.
“Relating to the story that we have read about the possible death of the Boko Haram leader , I think it is better we leave it at that. These people are on the run and we will allow the military to tell the story. “The military said that it would appear that in one of their operations, the leader of the insurgent was mortally wounded and they were rushing him from place to place and they believe that he could, indeed, be dead.
“It should give us more confidence. What it means is that the security forces are closing up on some of the kingpins of this murderous group that has denied thousands of Nigerians their lives. Some of the key leaders have been pronounced dead.
“I think that rather than losing confidence, we should continue to pray for the success of the military. What is remaining is for the media to support the military.
“It is the most important thing we need in Nigeria because if there is no peace in the northern part of the country, there won’t be peace in Nigeria.”
Maku said that since the President proclaimed the state of emergency three months ago “we have kept political comments out of it. We decided that it is better for the military to tell their story, that is why I have not spoken on it”.
“We want to remove this security operation from any misunderstanding, especially from politicians. As a government, it is our operation but the most important thing is to allow the military tell the story of what is happening.
“From the story you and I have read, it is very clear that this state of emergency has achieved a lot of result for which all Nigerians are proud of the performance of our military and security services.
“For example, for four years, Borno State has not witnessed any Durbar but this year, thousands of people in Borno witnessed Durbar, Zaria also had their own Durbar which was suspended three or four years ago because of security situation.
“But significantly, several portions of Borno State that had already come under siege by the military have been reclaimed and the militants have been dislodged from those areas Economic activities in Borno and Yobe have resumed significantly in the aftermath of the activities because of the good work being done by the special operations forces.
“Today, leaders of the insurgents are running from pillar to post because the area is no longer conducive for them as it used to be.
“Every operation against a guerrilla styled insurgency is not something that can be contained over night. In Iraq, we are still having occasional attacks after the Americans left, just as we are having in Pakistan and other places.
“The presumption by Nigerians is that the incidence will end tomorrow. No. We are regaining territories, we are regaining confidence and stability. What the insurgents are doing is to go to remote places and start striking at innocent people, like they did recently at Danboa.
“That shows the desperation of these people. We must be proud of our security forces. As we clock three months of the state of emergency, the military has just announced the creation of a new division which means that the operation would further go up from what it is.
“It will be more orderly and the military will gain further control which was shared with other security services. This also shows the emphasis by the military to ensure complete success.
“What is significant is that not only in Nigeria but internationally, the performance of our military has been commended. The criminality of these insurgents have also come under international opprobrium when the International Criminal Court accused them of crimes against humanity.
“One of the fall outs of the declaration of state of emergency is the increase confidence by member of the public to come out clearly to interface with the security forces in identifying some of the hide outs of the criminals and murderers involved in the terrorist attacks on innocent Nigerians. You have very crucial roles being played by youths in the area.”