—Says Maiduguri rocket launch was scaremongering
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The Presidency has said 17 months was enough time for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to bring to an end the various security challenges plaguing the country.
President Buhari, who took over the presidential seat in 2015 for the period of four years was re-elected in 2019 and is expected to leave office in May 2023, about 17 months.
Speaking when he appeared on Sunday Politics on Channels Television, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, said that President Buhari can still end insecurity in the country before his exit.
Recall that in August, President Buhari had warned security chiefs that he was not prepared to leave office as a failure and that he was determined to turn things around in the war against insecurity.
Asked if President can end insecurity in the country before he leaves office in 2023, Adesina said: “Nothing is impossible. I always refer to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. That rebellion lasted for 28 years. But one day, the mastermind of that rebellion was taken out. And that was the automatic ending of it.
“Those who are behind this, insurgency will be taken out, they are being taken out one after the other and it will get to a point that the last of them will be taken out, and then we’ll get to the end of it, it can be done within 17 months, that remains for this administration.”
Also asked if Nigerians can indeed hold on to his word and by extension, the President’s that insecurity would end before he leaves office, the Presidential spokesman said: “I believe so. It can happen.”
On the ability of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) operating in Borno state to fire rockets targeting areas in Maiduguri, the state capital, Adesina said the act was scaremongering to force President Buhari to cancel his official visit to the state.
Multiple explosions rocked Maiduguri last Thursday with rockets landing on many houses around Ngomari, Bulumkutu and Ayafe near the airport, hours before the visit of President Buhari to the state.
But Adesina said: “It was some sort of scaremongering. They wanted to frighten the president away but they had forgotten that this President is a retired general, they had forgotten he is a man who can stand his own. They thought they will succeed in getting the president to cancel that visit, that was why they, possibly did what they did.
“But we see that the President still went ahead with the visit and from all indications, it was very successful visit. It is sad that some people lost their lives in that attack but it shows you the cowardly nature of those behind these attacks.”
Reminded that there have been statements in the past saying that the insurgents have been technically defeated and that the war was coming to an end, the Presidential Spokesman said: “Well, let me start from the first aspect of what you said that we’ve had expressions, like, technically defeated in the past. Yes, everything that has been said is true. Because if you consider the nature of this insurgency from 2009, when it started till now, it has mutated in very many ways. And the current shape and state of it cannot be compared to what it was in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
“No, a lot has been done to weaken them. The technical word is degrade, a lot has been done to degrade those aggressors. And we can compare what happens today to what used to happen, it is just a matter of ending this thing.
“That was why the President said in Maiduguri that we’re in the final stages of the war against insurgency and I believe we are in the final stages. And that was what he also told the security chiefs at the Security Council meeting, end this thing. It is starting to end. And I believe that with all Nigerians working together, cooperating and and collaborating with the security forces, we will end it very soon.”
Asked what goal the President is trying to achieve and what will be used to measure the achievement, Adesina said: “Well, the goal is when wanton killings stops. When we don’t hear of bombings. Today, we don’t hear of bombings as you used to hear of it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. That has reduced drastically.
“But what the President wants is for it to end completely. Once in a while you still hear of bombs here and there. And then you’ve heard of two cases of rockets being fired into the city. This is to stop completely when they stops, then we will know that we are there.
“That is what Mr. President desires, a conclusive end, a conclusive stop. Possibly a taking out of all the brains behind these evil actions.”