Daily Trust (Abuja)

26 December 2013

Nigeria: Insurgency Far From Over - Jonathan

Photo: Vanguard
Insecurity in Nigeria unrelenting

President Goodluck Jonathan says his administration is making headway in tackling security challenges but that the insurgency afflicting parts of the country is far from over.

He said had it not been for the success recorded in the campaign against terrorism, the State House in Abuja might have been targeted by now.

The President spoke at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja, during a Christmas Day Service, attended by his mother Eunice, wife Patience, and top government officials.

Jonathan had once said the deadly insurgency in parts of the North would be over by June last year.Security chiefs have also said severally that the authorities were winning the war on terror.

"For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror will hardly get out of it," the President said yesterday.

"If you look at Pakistan, we even go there to train our soldiers. In some parts of Pakistan as we are even talking now, there appears to be no government. So, this country could have been worse.

"Look at the incidences in Abuja, even the police headquarters was bombed and the UN building right here in the seat of government. Maybe the next target would have been the State House.

"So, we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level though we are far from getting through."

He made references to wars in parts of the world, saying Nigerians would not find home anywhere abroad if war broke out here. "In terms of Nigeria, if we have crises, the Primate was mentioning whether Ghana or Sierra Leone can accommodate us. Even now, Nigerians in these countries, the people who own the countries are not even comfortable with the number," he said.

"From Cameroon to Senegal, Nigerians are everywhere. If not for political and diplomatic reasons, they would have even asked some of them to go. Then, assuming we have crises, what will be your state? Where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean?"

He added: "In fact, within this week, we will be going for a security council meeting under the African Union (AU). My envoy just came back on Sunday from where he had a conversation with them on how do we stop this madness (in South Sudan)?

"So, we have to thank God even though we still have these security challenges in our country, at least, we are reasonably better."

Jonathan also took a swipe at politicians, saying they were only thinking about the next elections, misbehaving, making unguarded statements and writing unnecessary letters.

"For us at this time, especially we, the politicians, that think we own this country. We begin to think about next elections, doing what we ought not to do, making statements we are supposed not to make, writing letters we are supposed not write," he said.

"I call on the clergymen and statesmen who really own this country because this country belongs to our statesmen, the traditional rulers, our religious leaders and men and women and youths. Nigeria doesn't belong to any politician or group of politicians. So, we will continue to urge you to continue to pray for this country."

He thanked religious leaders for their prayers, saying he believed that God had been answering those prayers.

Jonathan assured that his administration would do its best "within the period that God has asked us to occupy the position we are occupying."

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