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Dapchi Abduction Will Never Happen Again – Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) addresses delegates at the start of a conference to tackle corruption at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on May 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

The abduction of 110 Dapchi schoolgirls and last week’s attack on Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Rann, Borno State in which humanitarian workers were killed by suspected Boko Haram insurgents would not be allowed to recur, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed.

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.”

Buhari urged the elite and the media to avoid creating fertile ground for clashes among Nigerians through “what is said and what is done”. He urged the elite to “hold Nigeria together by our actions and utterances as well as our values”.

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 precincts 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.

He also lamented that Nigeria’s reliance on foreign defence products was unhelpful in the fight against terror and other criminal activities, regretting that the cyber space is being dominated by criminals.

The Federal Government, Dan-Ali asserted, would not only partner with critical stakeholders to address the security challenges facing the country, but scientific and technological solutions would be adopted to defeat terror.

Dan-Ali acknowledged the loss of lives and livelihoods, destruction of farm lands across the country, the activities of cattle rustlers, as well as destruction of communities, promising that the government would do everything possible to restore hope and rebuild the affected areas.

Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, also yesterday restated the army’s commitment to rescuing the Dapchi girls.

Gen. Buratai, who spoke at the inauguration of the newly-completed office complex in the 6 Division of the Army in Port Harcourt, said: “The search for the 110 missing school girls from Dapchi is an ongoing  process.

“Definitely, everybody is concerned and we are doing our best in finding the missing school girls.”

Gen. Buratai also debunked the claims that the Boko Haram insurgents had  regrouped and  now control a large territory in the Northeast.

He said there was “nothing like resurgence ’’, adding that  “one or two incidents’’ could not be interpreted as  resurgence.

“It is the responsibility of everybody to join hands and knowing that it is not entirely a military responsibility but a collective task.

“Every facet of our society needs to be part of this fight against terrorism. It is a national disaster and calamity which we must all join hands to defeat,” Gen. Buratai said.




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Copyright 2018 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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