By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will do everything possible not just to avoid abduction similar to that of Dapchi schoolgirls but also attacks on humanitarian workers like that of Rann in Borno State.
He also charged the nation’s elite and the media to avoid breeding clashes among Nigerians through unhealthy comments.
Buhari, who spoke in Abuja, yesterday, while declaring open the 8th Edition of National Security Seminar 2018, organised by Alumni Association of the National Defence College in collaboration with the Office of National Security Adviser, ONSA, and 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 Osinbajo, Buhari said: ”Nigerian elite should hold Nigeria together by their actions and utterances as well as our values.”
He maintained that incessant attacks by terrorists on soft targets such as the kidnap of the schoolgirls 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 mobilised to Borno and Yobe states to ensure the security and safety of the people as well as schools in that part of the country.
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 kilometres of Nigeria, that is about the size of Belgium, from the eastern border of Cameroon to parts of Lake Chad. In Borno, 20 of 27 local government arees 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 have the capacity to hold a territory. and challenge the sovereignty of the state.
“Gone are the days they operate outside the precincts 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 current administration will 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.