President Goodluck Jonathan has again assured that Nigeria will do everything necessary to end the excesses of Boko Haram Islamic sect in the country irrespective of the financial implications.
The president explained that the current state of emergency imposed on Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states is meant to mop up arms from the area, saying that government has the wherewithal to deal with the challenge posed by the Islamic militants terrorising the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and environs.
The president, who declared that he will not fold his hands while members of the sect continue to kill innocent citizens, stated this in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the 21st ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adding that the excesses of Boko Haram must stop.
“That is the decision of this present government now. It must stop, whatever it will cost the government, it must stop”, he said.
He said under the short term, military intervention is compulsory.
“In the short term, it is to seize these weapons. …By the time we finish combing, we would have not just stopped it there but we would have seized most of the weapons they are using. That is in the short term”.
Jonathan observed that a lot of weapons found their ways into the country because of the Libyan crisis, saying that it is important for all the illegal weapons to be mopped up.
Jonathan confirmed that the threat being posed by the Islamic sect to the country and the sub-region is fairly big and could be more devastating if the government did not move fast.
He recalled that because of events in Nigeria that have made it difficult for them to operate, some of the sect members recently moved into Niger Republic with suicide attacks in two places simultaneously in the country leading to the death of about 20 soldiers.
He said, “Niger Republic had been relatively calm although they have been noticing the movement because it is a general area from Mali, Niger, Chad to Nigeria but because Nigeria is fairly big, we now said ‘no, this must stop.’”
“They are now moving, Central Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa is not also safe. Even in Ethiopia here, there were a lot of terrorist activities before but it is now coming down; same with Somalia. So, it is only southern Africa that is relatively peaceful in terms of terror”.
He disclosed that there must be military intervention, “We must beef up security, we must change the security architecture to make sure that we detect that something is about to happen before it happens so that we will be able to stop it”.
“We have stopped a number of incidents in the country. It is just that the few that happened affected life and whenever life is affected, you will not even think that somebody is doing anything.
“A lot of free weapons come in because of the Libyan crisis. We must seize them. They are illegal weapons and must be seized and you cannot do that without declaring a state of emergency to enable the military enter any house, whether it is a residential building, it is a church, a mosque, a shrine, anywhere, hotel, anything that we suspect. We will be able to enter and seize these weapons”.
TONY AILEMEN, Abuja