President Muhammadu Buhari
He made the pledge at yesterday’s national security summit in Abuja. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo represented the President at the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja venue of the eighth edition of the National Security Seminar 2018 organised by the Alumni Association of the NDC in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the NDC.
The seminar had the theme “Fighting Tomorrows’ Warfare Today.”
President Buhari said the persistent attacks of the terrorists on soft targets, such as the kidnap of the girls and the incident at Rann were to create the impression that the terrorists were still very much around. He insisted that compared to when he took over the reins in 2015, the insurgents had been effectively degraded.
The President said since the kidnap of the girls, the Armed Forces had been fully mobilised to Borno and Yobe states to ensure the security and safety of the people as well as schools.
He said: “Boko Haram, as we all know, rejects authority and strives to take over territory, to establish 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.
”As of March 2015, Boko Haram controlled about 20,000square kilometres of Nigeria, that is about the size of Belgium, from the eastern border of Cameroun to parts of Lake Chad. In Borno State, 20 out of 27 local government areas were 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 the 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 operated outside the precints 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 bravery of the Armed Forces, said Nigerians and the present administration would 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”.
President Buhari, who said the administration would rekindle the determination of the Armed Forces to subdue Boko Haram permanently, promised that a multi-dimensional approach would be adopted to tackle the insurgency.
According to him, the administration would strengthen the intelligence gathering capabilities of the Armed Forces, adopt cutting edge technology to fight the insurgents and develop counter narratives that would make recruitment of young men and women into the Boko Haram group impossible.
He also stated that besides the Safe School Initiative, the government would rebuild and secure communities destroyed by the insurgents, adding that all material conditions that make people take up arms against the state would be addressed.
Minister of Defence Mansir Dan Ali said the efforts of the military to rescue the Dapchi girls and the Chibok girls would take the centre stage. He said a satellite communications system and other technological method would be deployed to rescue the girls.
The minister was represented by Dr. Hassan Abdullahi a director in the ministry.
Dan-Ali said Boko Haram was taking advantage of technology, especially the social media platforms to create panic, terror and confusion in the society. He urged the Armed Forces to move ahead of them by doing away with analogue technology and embrace digital technology.
Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, also yesterday restated the army’s commitment to rescuing the Dapchi girls.
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