by Sonny Jones
President Goodluck Jonathan has threatened to pullout the army from Nigeria's Northeastern state of Borno for a month "following alleged unguarded statements by the State Governor Kashim Shettima".
On Tuesday February 18, Woolwich Online reported that an attack by Boko Haram killed 200 the previous Saturday.
Under intense pressure from the incessant attacks on Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima had revealed fears that Boko Haram may have been allowed much freedom to entrench themselves that they are now considered stronger than the military.
In an interview with Nigeria's Channels Television after a meeting with President Jonathan, shortly after the attack Governor Shettima said "Nigerian Army Can’t Defeat Boko Haram."
He said “Bottom line is that we need more resources, more vote on ground. In all fairness to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and Police, they are doing their best given the circumstances they have found themselves in. But honestly Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops”.
“We are in a state of war. That is what I came to tell the president. I made it emphatically clear to Mr. President that Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated than the security forces,” Shettima told the media, after his meeting with the President.
Governor Shettima said unless more troops and more resources were deployed to Borno, “it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram.”
Statements such as that have now apparently angered President Goodluck Jonathan who threatened to withdraw the military from Borno State for a month for "unguarded statements".
“The statement from the governor of Borno state is unfortunate. If he thinks the Nigerian army is helpless, I will pull them out for one month and we know whether he will still stay in government house or not."...adding ""There are challenges but a governor must show moderation in what he says to the public,” the President said in a recent chat with the Media.
The good news is that the United States has offered to support Nigeria's effort to combat the terror group.
In a statement, John Kerry, Secretary of State, said US will support Nigeria and initiatives to eliminate Boko Haram.
"Unspeakable violence and acts of terror like the ones committed by Boko Haram last week in northern Nigeria are horrific, wrong, and have no place in our world," Kerry was reported as saying.
"The people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror. That's why the United States is providing counter-terrorism assistance to help Nigerian authorities develop a comprehensive approach to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram, while protecting civilians and ensuring respect for human rights."
"We stand with the people of Northern Nigeria in their struggle against violent extremism, and remain a committed partner of the Government of Nigeria as it works to root out Boko Haram and associated groups," Kerry said.
Borno is one of three states that are under emergency rule, following incidents of terror, blamed on the Boko Haram terror group.
Nigeria's experience with Boko Haram seems to confirm the notion that 'home-grown terrorism', portends a very serious menace than terrorism from abroad, because they insurgents know the country's terrain and can easily navigate around it.
And the United States offer must be a welcome development, although President Goodluck Jonathan has reportedly expressed willingness to talk with Boko Haram.
According to the Daily Trust, an Abuja based general interest newspaper, President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday revealed his government's willingness to negotiate with members of the terror group, although Boko Haram were yet to respond to the offer.
At a seminar 'Engendering greater understanding of legal underpinnings of internal security operations', President Jonathan said the Nigerian government had adopted multifaceted approaches in tackling insurgency, including the establishment of a committee on peace and dialogue.
But he said Boko Haram constitutes a bunch of boys who "are so brutal and remote from modern civilization. They kill at will."
In dealing with them, he asked the security forces to adhere to international principles in dealing with insurgency, adding "I am concerned about how the armed forces discharge their duties and I have directed the Chief of Defence Staff that relevant laws must be adhered to. Individuals must act with a high sense of responsibility."
Raising the Olive branch, "The committee called on the insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue. While we are waiting for their response, government is determined to discharge its responsibility of protecting lives and property and no effort will be spared," he said.
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