Contrary to its earlier claim at different time that Boko Haram has been “technically decimated” and “completely defeated” the Presidency has admitted that the war against the dreaded insurgency was not over.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who gave the verdict when he appeared on a Lagos-based television programme on Sunday, however, maintained that despite the series of attacks by the insurgents in recent times, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has recorded a notable progress in the war against the insurgency.
Adesina who spoke against the backdrop of the abduction of 110 students of the Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State, by Boko Haram, insisted that the sect has been terribly degraded.
“If the operating word is ‘totally,’ the answer is no obviously – but has Boko Haram been degraded? I will say yes, terribly so. You can compare then and now; they have been terribly, terribly degraded but is the war over? No, it is not completely over.
“Compare how Boko Haram was in 2015 when this administration came, they were virtually running riot everywhere – how many times was Kano bombed, how many times was Abuja bombed, how many times was Kogi bombed? Boko Haram was everywhere,” Adesina said.
The president’s spokesman regretted the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls, which revived painful memories of a similar case on another boarding school in Chibok, in Borno state, in April 2014, in which more than 200 girls were kidnapped.
“Truly, it should never have happened. After what the country experienced in the Chibok girls’ saga, this one that just happened in Dapchi should never have happened.”
Adesina, however, assured Nigerians that that President Buhari is doing all that is needful and necessary to ensure the safe return of the students.
He noted that two delegations had visited the community of the incident, on the president’s directive and added: “If the president needs to visit (the state), he will surely visit.”
The presidential aide explained that while Borno State happened to be the epicentre of Boko Haram attacks, Adamawa and Yobe states had been quite calm, with the situation under control in recent times.
He was of the view that the terrorists must have found their way back to Yobe after they had been displaced from their stronghold in Borno (Sambisa), which could have led to the abduction of the girls. He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to bringing the girls back safely, and stressed that the situation is getting adequate response from the military.