By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
Two things have appeared as a recurring decimal whenever the Boko Haram insurgents strike in any part of the country. President Goodluck Jonathan always condemns them and then promise to deal ruthlessly with them.
Below are the bombing incidents and the threats issued by President Jonathan since the outset of bombings by Boko Haram.
* On November 10, when the nation was awakened by the news of the bombing of the Government Science School in Potiskum, Yobe State, which claimed no fewer than 50 students, Jonathan responded almost immediately this way:
“We’ll crush Boko Haram”
President Goodluck Jonathan has vehemently condemned the killing of some students of the Government Science Secondary School Potiskum, Yobe State in a Monday morning bomb blast that claimed about 47 lives.
President Jonathan hereby assures the grieving parents and people of Yobe state that no matter how long it takes, the Federal Government will ensure that all those responsible for the senseless murder of so many promising youngsters and the continuing acts of terrorism across the country are brought to justice and made to pay for their atrocious crimes.”
*“Boko Haram ‘ll fade away soon” – Jonathan at the NES in Abuja October 6, 2014.
President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, described the terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram Islamic sect as “a temporary setback” which will soon be a thing of the past. This came on the heels of the nation’s quest for direct foreign investment which is the high point of the 2011 Economic summit.
Speaking at the on-going 17th Nigeria Economic Summit, NES 17, in Abuja, President Jonathan said that his administration was acquiring and deploying all necessary security infrastructure to defeat the sect in order to make the nation an investors’ haven in her quest to be a key global economic power.
His words: “We are working very hard to provide a conducive atmosphere for investors. Although we currently have the Boko Haram problem, just like terrorist activities in other parts of the globe, but I can assure Nigerians and the global community that we will soon overcome.
“You are all aware that we have conquered Ebola and we will surely crush Boko Haram. And if you look at what is happening, a lot of things are changing. Everything is turning around”.
* Jonathan at the PDP South-South Rally in Beinin, Edo State on September 27, 2014.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria will effectively curb the menace of terrorism in Nigeria”-Jonathan has said.
*July 23, 2014 on the attack on General Muhammadu Buhari by insurgents in Kaduna. Although Buhari managed to escape with bullet-riddled vehicle, some were killed and some others wounded by the bombers.
The President assured residents of Kaduna and all other Nigerians that the Federal Government would continue and further intensify its ongoing efforts to effectively curb the menace of terrorism in the country.
“President Jonathan denounces the dastardly targeting of the prominent political and religious leaders by terrorists and enemies of the nation in an odious attempt to inflame passions and exacerbate disquiet, fear, insecurity and sectional divisions in the country.”
* “We will certainly win the war on terror”– Jonathan while condemning multiple attacks in Kano, Adamawa and Cameroun in July this year.
“President Jonathan urges the security forces to remain resolute, and not be discouraged by the desperation of the agents of evil. He believes that with the continued cooperation between Nigeria’s security forces and their counterparts in neighbouring countries, the war against terror will surely be won,” he said.
The President described as “shocking, callous and reprehensible the multiple bomb blasts that occurred in Kano within 24 hours, and the unrelenting attacks by the Boko Haram at a time the Muslim faithful are observing the holy festival of Eid el Fitri”.
*June 25, 2014: “This is one of the darkest phases in the history of our nation but surely we will get over it,” Jonathan said during inspection visit to the Emab Plaza in Abuja on June 25, 2014 after being rocked by a bomb the previous day.
*May, 2014: “Nigeria remains fully committed to winning the war against terror” President Jonathan on the second bomb blast that killed over 120 persons in Jos, Plateau State on May 20, 2014, occurred.
“Government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror, and this administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization,” he said in reaction to the bombing.
* April, 2014: On the bombing in Nyanya, an Abuja suburb on April 14, 2014:
“I also commend the security services ?for their prompt action. Though we lost quite a number of people, we condole our countrymen and women. We will continue to work very hard.
“The issue of Boko Haram is temporary. Government is doing everything to make sure that we move our country forward in spite of all the distractions that want to take us backward. We promise that we will get over it.
“We also want to use this unique opportunity to plead with the media and our great men and women, to come up with enlightenment programme for our people. Those countries that face terror they have developed great awareness. If there are unusual movements of vehicles and bags, they called security and based on this, a lot of incidences are contained.
“We believe that if people will become observant and all of us become security-conscious, we will be able to reduce some of these incidents.
“We will do our best?, the security services will continue to work very hard, God willing, we will get over it. The issue of Boko Haram is temporary. Surely, we will get over it.”
Coincidentally, while some of the jihadists were bombing Nyanya, others had hauled over 200 girls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State the same day into their hideout on the same night.
Neither the President nor his security chiefs initially admitted that any person was taken by the insurgents from the school as the news broke.
Reacting to the abduction of the Chibok girls, Jonathan also gave assurance that the perpetrators would not only be brought to book but that the girls would be found and reunited with their families.
*April, 2014, on Chibok girls days after the kidnap: “Every necessary measure should be taken to find the school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno
State on 14th April 2014;
“Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region will continue to co-operate and co-ordinate efforts to combat the Boko Haram menace.
“The Heads of State have agreed that each country will contribute one battalion of troops to the international force set up to patrol the border areas, in line with the Resolution of the Lake Chad
Basin Commission. France, United States of America and the United Kingdom will
extend technical assistance to achieve this objective
“Furthermore, the Federal Government of Nigeria will rebuild the Chibok School and fortify security in schools. In collaboration with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the private sector, the government will launch the “Safe Schools Initiative” which will address security issues; re-build the destroyed schools; and provide equipment and materials”.
* On May 1, 2014 when the malevolent group unleashed the second bomb that killed at least 19 and wounded many others in the same Nyanya:
“Perpetrators of the Nyanya bomb blast will not go unpunished. Boko Haram will not disintegrate this country… Those who foment trouble in the country in the belief that this will lead to the disintegration of the country will be disappointed because ‘no criminal group within or outside the country can disintegrate the country.
“Nigeria will disappoint those who are thinking that the country will disintegrate; despite the challenges, the country will not divide.
“Surely, we will overcome this tribulation. Those who think that this country will be divided into North, south, East and West, or whatever, we will not.
“ Most of you are aware when this incident happened in Nyanya, Nigerians from all religions, from all classes, participated in the evacuation of all the people who were affected, even before the security people arrived.
“People came from everywhere, irrespective of their religious beliefs and persuasion. That shows that there is no criminal group, within or outside this country that can break this country. No criminal group will disintegrate this country”
* On the February 2014 attack in Yobe: After meeting with the security chiefs, Jonathan on May 3, 2014 ordered the closure of all public schools in the city of Abuja pending the hosting of the World Economic Forum between the 7th and 9th of May, 2014 in Abuja.
Before then, there was the Bunu Yadi attack at a school in Potiskum in Yobe State on February 26, 2014 where no fewer than 43 students were killed by the insurgents and Jonathan responded as usual, vowing to deal ruthlessly with the masterminds of the heinous crime.
“We will permanently crush Boko Haram in Nigeria.”
“We will continue to do everything possible to permanently eradicate the scourge of terrorism and insurgency from our country. We recognise that the root cause of militancy, terrorism and insurgency is not the strength of extremist ideas but corrupted values and ignorance.
“My dear compatriots, as we celebrate our centenary, the security situation in some of our north-eastern states sadly remains a major concern for us. Just yesterday, young students, full of hopes and dreams for a great future, were callously murdered as they slept in their college dormitories in Yobe State. I am deeply saddened by their deaths and those of other Nigerians at the hands of terrorists. Our hearts go out to their parents and relatives, colleagues and school authorities…That is why our counter-terrorism strategy is not just about enforcing law and order, as we have equipped our security forces to do. It also involves expanding economic opportunities, social inclusion, education and other measures that will help restore normalcy not just in the short term but permanently.
“I want to reassure Nigerians that terrorism, strife and insecurity in any part of Nigeria are abhorrent and unacceptable to us. I urge leaders throughout Nigeria to ensure that ethnicity and religion are not allowed to become political issues.”
* On the bombing of UN House by insurgents on August 26, 2011, President Jonathan described the act as barbaric, senseless and cowardly.
As usual President Jonathan affirmed Nigeria’s determination to continue to play its part in the global effort to eradicate the scourge of terrorism in all its ramifications.
He urged all Nigerians and foreigners resident in the country to go about their normal affairs with the full assurance that the Federal Government and its law enforcement agencies would continue to work diligently to ensure the full protection of lives and property in the country.
*June 16, 2011: President Jonathan also strongly condemned the bombing of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja on 16 June 2011. “Let me use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that it happens all over the world, no country is free.
“Nigeria is also having some ugly incidents lately but surely we will get over it and people should not panic at all, soon most of these things will be a thing of the past,” he said.
*On the December 25, 2011 Madalla and Suleija bombings President Jonathan denounced the attack this way: “the bombing of innocent citizens on a day millions of people all over the World are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ was a dastardly act that must attract the rebuke of all peace-loving Nigerians. These acts of violence against innocent citizens are an unwarranted affront on our collective safety and freedom. Nigerians must stand as one to condemn them.”
Highlights of Boko Haram Bombings in Nigeria between 2009 and 2014
July 26, 2009 – Police allegedly killed Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in police cell after soldiers, who arrested him, handed him over to the police alive
April 22, 2011 – Boko Haram attacked prison in Yola, Adamawa, freed 14 prisoners
May 29, 2011 – Boko Haram attacked several communities in northern Nigeria
June 16, 2011 – Boko Haram claimed responsibility for attack on Abuja police headquarters
June 26, 2011 – Boko Haram bombed beer garden in Maiduguri, 25 killed, 12 injured
July 11, 2011 – University of Maiduguri closed down over Boko Haram threats
August 26, 2011 – The Islamic sect bombed the UN Building, Abuja, killing workers and visitors
August 12, 2011 – Boko Haram shot dead Liman Bana, prominent Islamic cleric
December 25, 2011 – Sect bombed the Catholic Church, Madalla, killing several worshippers
Feb 8, 2012 – Boko Haram claims responsibility for Kaduna army headquarters bombing
March 8, 2012 – Efforts to free Italian, British captives abducted by the sect failed as they were killed before they could be rescued in Sokoto
April 26, 2012 – Bombers hit ThisDay office in Abuja
June 17, 2012 – Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked 3 Kaduna churches, 50 killed
Sept 19, 2012 – Nigerian army arrested insurgents and claimed it killed Abu Qaqa
March 5, 2013 – Sultan called for Amnesty for Boko Haram members
Mar 18, 2013 – Suicide bombers attacked Kano Bus stop, killed 22, 65 injured
Apr 17, 2013 – Jonathan set up Amnesty Implementation Committee to engage BH
July 6, 2013 – Boko Haram attacked Government Secondary School, Mamugu, killing 29 students
Sept 29, 2013 – BH attacked College of Agriculture in Gujba, killed 40 male students
April 24, 2013 – Jonathan set up Boko Haram amnesty committee
May 14, 2013 – Jonathan declared state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa states over BH attacks
August 2013 – Abubakar Shekau said to have been shot and deposed by members Chief of Defence Staff said the military would wipe out Boko Haram by April, 2014 – Jan, 2014 April 14, 2014 – BH kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls at Govt. Sec. School, Chibok, Borno
April 14, 2014 – BH suicide bombers attacked Nyanya bus station in Abuja, 90 killed
May 1, 2014 – Car bomb attack in Nyanya area of Abuja, 19 killed, scores injured
May 18, 2014 – BH suicide bomb attack in Kano, five killed
May 20, 2014 – Twin bomb explosions in Jos, 118 killed
September 17, 2014 – Nigeria military claimed it killed Abubakar Shekau ‘again’
September 2014 – Australian Stephen Davis named some alleged ‘sponsors’ of Boko Haram
Sept 2014 – Boko Haram captured some towns –Damboa, Gwoza, Bama and most Nigeria’s border towns with Cameroon in Borno State and Mubi, Madagali and Michika in Adamawa State
Sept 2014 – Nigeria’s military fought back Boko Haram’s attack to retake Konduga, killing about 115 of the militants, several insurgents surrendered their weapons
September 2014 – The sect claimed it shot down a Nigeria military jet and captured one of the pilots alive. It released the video of how it beheaded one of the pilots
October 17, 2014 – VOA reports a meeting of a delegation of the Federal Government and Boko Haram members in the Chad November 10 2014- 47 killed by suicide bomber at Government Science College, Potiskum, Yobe State
After every attack, President Jonathan condemns the insurgents and promises to deal with them ruthlessly. He says they will never go unpunished. It is now easy to predict the the President’s reaction after any Boko Haram attack. He has refused to change. And the stronger his condemnation remarks, the more the insurgents kill Nigerians and the stronger they appear as reflected in the capturing of Nigerian towns, hoisting their flags and the purported renaming of these cities. The incidents quoted above point to one thing. The President should consider to talk less on Boko Haram and work more to end their terror on our polity.