By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration would do everything possible not just to avoid abduction similar to that of Dapchi school girls but also attacks on humanitarian workers like that of Rann,in Borno State.
This was even as he charged the nation’s elite and the media to avoid breeding clashes among Nigerians through unhealthy comments.
Buhari, who spoke in Abuja, Tuesday, while declaring open the 8th Edition of the National Security Seminar 2018, organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA and the National Defence College, NDC,insisted that elite must avoid creating fertile ground through”what is said and what is done”.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo,Buhari added:”Nigerian elite should hold Nigeria together by our actions and utterances as well as our values, the president stated.”
He maintained that the incessant attacks of the terrorists on soft targets such as the kidnap of the girls and the incident at Rann were to create the impression that the terrorists are still very much around, insisting that compared to when he took over the reign of governance in 2015, the insurgents have been effectively degraded.
The President said since the kidnap of the girls, the nation’s armed forces have been fully mobilized to Borno and Yobe states to ensure the security and safety of the people as well as schools in that part of the country.
The Theme of the Seminar was “Fighting Tomorrows’ Warfare Today.”
Said he: ” Boko Haram as we all know rejects authority and strives to take over territory, estblishing a caliphate in line with ISIS objectives. Between 2012 and 2015 they seemed to be well on their way to achieve their objectives by annexing some territory of Nigeria and contesting territory with it.
“As of march 2015 Boko Haram controls about 20,000square kilo. of Nigeria, that is about the size of Belgium, from the eastern border of cameroun to parts of Lake Chad. In Borno 20 out of 27 local government are under Boko Haram control, including Mubi in Adamawa and some villages.
“In addition to this, their footprints were registered in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano with the bombings of UN building and Police HQ in Abuja . That was the state of affairs as of early 2015. . Today BH does not occupy any local government area in Nigeria. And they no longer has the capacity to hold a territory. and challenge the sovereignty of the state.
“Gone are the days they operate outside the precints of the northeast, leaving behind carnage and bloodshed. They are now operating as desperate criminal gang mostly in relics or groups taking over some communities, using children as suicide bombers, kidnapping innocent girls and children”.
President Buhari who lauded the gallantry and bravery of the nation’s armed forces, said Nigerians and the present administration would remain grateful to them for their sacrifice, stating that “as things are today, the situation would have been worse without the gallantry of our armed forces”.
He said with the objectives of the Boko Haram group to establish a caliphate in Nigeria now made impossble by the military, the government, the people and the military must come to the understanding of the deception that is at the heart of the current spate of attacks and kidnapping that the group was bent on creating the impression that they are still very much around.
President Buhari who said the administration would rekindle the determination of the armed forces to subdue Boko Haram permanently, further assured that a multi-dimensional approach would be adopted to tackle the insurgent headlong.
According to him, the administration would strenghten the intelligence gathering capabilities of the armed forces, adopt cutting edge technology to fight the insurgents and develop counter narratives that would make recruitment of young men and women into the Boko Haram group impossible.
He also stated that besides the Safe School Initiative, the government would rebuild and secure communities destroyed by the insurgents, adding that all material conditions that make people take up arms against the state would be addressed.
The Minister of Defence, Mansir Dan Ali said the current efforts of the military to rescue the Dapchi girls and the Chibok girls would take the centre stage, stressing that satellite communications system and other technological method would be deploy to rescue the girls.
The Minister who was represented by Dr Hassan Abdullahi, a Director in charge of the army in the Ministry, said it was heart-warming for the organisers of the seminar to come up with the idea to address the multi-faceted security challenges facing the country.
Dan Ali said from the look of things the Boko Haram insurgent group were taking advantage of technology, especially the socia media platforms to create panic, terror and confusion in the society and urge the nation’s armed forces to move ahead of them by doing away with analogue technology and embracing digital technology.
He also lamented that Nigeria’s reliance on foreign defence products are unhelpful in the fight against terror and other criminal activities in the country, regretting that the cyber space is being dominated by criminals.
The federal government, he asserted, would not only partner with critical stakeholders to address the security challenges facing the country, but that scientific and technological solutions would be adopted to defeat terror.
Dan Ali acknowledged the lost of lives and livelihoods, destruction of farm lands across the country, the activities of cattle rustlers, as well as destruction of communities, promising that government would do everything possible to restore hope and rebuild effected areas.
The Commandant of the College, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo said the NDC was pleased to host the workshop with the tittle Fighting Tomorrows’ Warfare Today as a way of addressing the current security challenges holistically.