Timothy Olanrewaju Maiduguri, Aidoghie Paulinus, Fred Ezeh and Molly KILETE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the military to root out Boko Haram from the enclaves to end the violence in the North East.
The president gave the marching order, yesterday, in Maiduguri through his special delegation to Borno led by Senate President, Ahmed Lawan during a condolence visit to the Governor Babagana Zulum.
The delegation included the Chief of Staff to the president, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (retd), minister of communications and digital economy, Dr. Isa Fantami as well as the FCT minister Mohammed Bello.
He said: “The armed forces have been given a matching order to root out Boko Haram from wherever they are. This exercise is going to be continuous until we end insurgency in the country.”
He said security remains the most important concern of the Buhari government.
•It’s time to change security architecture –Lawan
Lawan also admonished the Federal Government to consider change of security architecture in the country, noting that the current platform is not working.
“We are conscious of the need to have new thinking. Let us have fresh idea, let us have some reforms in the armed forces. The security architecture in the country is not working, let us see how we can make it better,” He told newsmen in Maiduguri.
He said the killings of 43 farmers in Borno last weekend should propel the president to rejig the security architecture, saying there was need for the change now.
“We have said it several times, this time now, let the death of the 43 farmers at Zabarmari be the turning point. It is now,” he declared.
He said armed forces and other security agencies require more funding.
He suggested that more fund should be injected into fighting insecurity now rather than building roads or other infrastructure where people are not secured.
However, Governor Zulum, in his reaction, bemoaned what he called unfair treatment of the region by the Federal Government in the past which he argued was responsible for the Boko Haram violence.
He called for immediate recruitment of youths from the state into the Army and police, collaboration with neighbouring nations and use of merceneries to clear Boko Haram from their hideouts.
•US condemns attack
Meanwhile, the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the abhorrent attacks were a stark reminder of why it stood with the Nigerian government and people as they fight to defeat terrorism and work to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the November 28 violent attack in Borno, Nigeria. The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed or kidnapped.
“These abhorrent attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States stands with the Nigerian government and people as they fight to defeat terrorism and work to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the United States said.
•Global powers frustrating anti-insurgency war –FG
The Federal Government has alleged that global powers are deliberately blocking Nigeria’s moves to acquire needed armament to end terrorism and insurgency.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the action of the world powers was frustrating Nigeria’s resolve to end the twin-menace as well as end extremism.
He said notwithstanding the frustrations, the Federal Government would fight terrorism and insurgency to a logical conclusion.
His view is contrary to that of President Muhammadu Buhari, who said in a statement on Sunday, that his administration has given all the needed support to the armed forces “to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s population and its territory.”
According to the minister, “Nigeria had made attempts to acquire better and more effective platforms to deal with terrorists and for one reason or the other we have been denied these platforms, these weapons and without adequate platforms, we will remain at the mercy of terrorists.
The minister spoke to newsmen shortly after visiting the Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom at the Government House in Makurdi, the state capital for the official hand over of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Makurdi campus as North Central zonal campus.
While describing last Saturday’s killing of 43 farmers by Boko Haram in Borno as unfortunate, he said without adequate platforms, the country would remain at the mercy of terrorists.
“But you see, fighting terrorists is not a joke because what actually happened in Borno state was quite unfortunate.
While noting that government is doing a lot in the fight against terrorism, he posited that the issue of terrorism is not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
“When we talk about terrorism, people don’t seem to appreciate that terrorism is not a local issue, it is a global issue and there is no part of the world that doesn’t experience its own pocket of terrorism.
“But you must also note that we are dealing with terrorists who are financed globally and we also need more support from global partners. For instance, Nigeria has made an attempt to acquire a better and more effective platform to deal with terrorists but for one reason or the other we have been denied this platform, these weapons and without adequate weapons or platform we remain at the mercy of terrorists,” the minister said.
•12 Tucano jets from US to be delivered soon –NAF
However, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), yesterday, dismissed rumours that subsisting contract agreement between the Nigerian government and the United States for the supply of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has been canceled due to bad runway at the 407 Air Combat Training Group, Kainji, Niger State.
NAF said six out of the expected 12 aircraft had been produced and were being employed for conversion training of six of its pilots in the United States.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, who made the clarifications in a statement issued in Abuja, said the utterances credited to Senator Mike Nnachi, vice chairman, Senate Committee on Air Force, while briefing the Senate Appropriation Committee on the 2021 NAF Budget proposal, were taken out of context.
The Senate Committee on Air Force had last Thursday raised the alarm that Nigeria stood the risk of losing $493 million paid to the US for the purchase of the Super Tucano fighter jets due to the bad runway at Kainji.
The FG had in 2018 transferred a total of $493m to the US for the purchase of the aircrafts to fight terrorism and other violent crimes bedeviling the country.
•Villagers leak information to Boko Haram –Military
Meanwhile, the military has accused some residents of Borno of sabotage its efforts by providing information on its movement and activities to insurgents.
Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, John Enenche, who featured on a live television programme, yesterday, said information gathered from the attack showed that some of the insurgents were already cohabiting with the villagers before the attack.
Asked how the military had no prior intelligence on the attack, Enenche said the army needs information from locals to aid its operation.
•Insurgents buying ams from security operatives
Former Cross River governor, Donald Duke has alleged that most weapons used by Boko Haram terrorists are obtained from security operatives.
Speaking on Channels TV, Duke called on the Federal Government to investigate the security forces and flush out the bad eggs.
“Boko Haram insurgents who have been responsible for most heinous crimes, get their weapons from the security operatives. Most of the weapons used by Boko Haram come from our armoury, we will need to look into that. Why are we selling weapons to the enemy?” Duke questioned.