■ It’s mere propaganda -Army
By Omoniyi Salaudeen
Barely a week after the Federal Government secured the release of 82 Chibok girls, one of the swapped Boko Haram Commanders, Shuaibu Moni, has issued a threat to bomb the Federal Capital Territory. In a new video clips released by Abubakar Shekau, the sect leader, Moni was seen issuing threats to Nigerian authorities and President Muhammadu Buhari, saying “there’s been no ‘sulhu’ dialogue with government and there won’t be. Only war is between us.”
The video clips released on Friday also showed some abducted Chibok girls explaining why they would prefer to remain in the custody of the terrorist sect rather than return to their families. A negotiator who facilitated the recent release of the girls had said some of the abductees were reluctant to be freed. In the video, one of the girls, clutching an AK47 rifle, responded to questions from a man believed to be a Boko Haram commander, saying ‘they (their parents) are in town of infidels, we want them to accept Islam and join us to practice the religion and rest in the hereafter.”
However, while the Nigerian Army has dismissed the two video clips as mere propaganda which should be disregarded, a renowned security expert, Dr Ekhomu Ona, has expressed serious concern over the threat, arguing that the swapped commander now has a better inside knowledge to plot a good attack. His words: “Returning Commanders of Boko Haram to the battlefield is not a great idea. However, we have no choice in this case because we have to secure release of our girls. And I praise President Muhammadu Buhari for that. But then, we really have to take it as a credible threat.
It is a credible threat because we have active terrorist cells that are all over the country. We have them in the Kogi axis; we have them in the outline districts of Abuja. As someone who just returned to the field, he has better inside knowledge now to carry out the threat. Prison is the prime radicalization ground for many extremists. That is where they meet and share ideas.
Ona further noted that freed Boko Haram members were the forerunners of major attacks in the recent past. “Prison gives them opportunity to be together and to plot good attacks. Besides, there is a lot of radicalism in those cells which have not been well infiltrated by our intelligence agencies,” he added.
According to him, the Federal Government must focus on effective control of explosive which the Boko Haram relied upon in its terrorist activities. “There is a poor control of explosive ordinance in the country. Today, explosive ordinance is available everywhere for people who do blasting and quarrying, for farmers who need fertilizer. There must be a focus on controlling explosive in the country,” Ona admonished. “Another thing is that what is bugging them has not been resolved in the society. These people are saying that there is a lot of corruption in Nigerian society, there is injustice. You are a liar if you say we don’t have corruption and moral depravity in our society today. They believe it is only under Sharia that these can be resolved, which is wrong,” he added.
I can assure you the military is working hard behind the scene to contain the threat.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Sani Usman, in a statement made available to Sunday Sun, debunked the claims in the video clips where the terrorists boasted about indoctrinating some of the abducted Chibok school girls in captivity, saying “the terrorist has lost touch with current realities”.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians not to give in to the antics and empty threats by the terrorists especially now that the counter insurgency war is in its critical stage that requires more patriotism and security consciousness by all and sundry. Usman said “Gone were the days when people glamorized terrorists and their criminal acts, adding “Nigerian Air Force is unrelenting in its bombardment, while other Security Agencies are equally doing their best.”
“We should not give in to terrorists’ propaganda and empty threats.
We have come to a very critical stage of the fight against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria that require more patriotism and security consciousness by all and sundry,” he concluded.