29 May 2014

Nigeria: Jonathan Orders "Total War" On Boko Haram

Photo: Amanda Voisard/UN
President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday vowed "total war" against extremist sect, Boko Haram, ordering a full-scale operation to rid Nigeria of terrorists and end the reign of impunity.

In a speech Thursday, marking Democracy Day, the president said Nigeria's unity and stability as well as the protection of lives and property are non-negotiable.

"I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism," the president said. "The unity and stability of our country, and the protection of lives and property are non-negotiable. I have instructed our security forces to launch a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists on our soil."

The president's speech came seven weeks after Boko Haram militants abducted more than 250 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State.

The girls remain in captivity despite an international support to help free them.

Boko Haram has threatened to sell or marry the girls off if the government fails to release its fighters, detained in across the country.

The group has killed 12,000 people since 2009, and has continued in its reign of terror despite emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.

The group stepped up its attacks after the kidnapping of the girls drew international attention, killing hundreds in multiple car bombs in Kano and Jos, Plateau State.

"With the support of Nigerians, our neighbours and the international community, we will reinforce our defence, free our girls and rid Nigeria of terrorists," Mr Jonathan said.

The president said his administration has run out of patience and was ready to unleash "total war" against terrorism and the perpetrators.

He said the activities of terror groups in the country have caused the citizenry and the nation debilitating pains and horror, particularly the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno.

"It is now 45 days since the horrifying abduction of the college girls of Chibok. I share the deep pain and anxiety of their parents and guardians. I assure them once again that government will continue to do everything possible to bring our daughters home," the he said.

Mr. Jonathan, however, said that government would be open to dialogue and reconciliation with any one or group willing to genuinely renounce terror.

"My government, while pursuing security measures, will explore all options, including readiness to accept unconditional renunciation of violence by insurgents," he said. "Government will also ensure their de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society."

The president underscored the need for all Nigerians to remain united to win the war against terrorism, adding that Nigerians from all sections of the country, including Christians, Muslims, farmers, fishermen, herdsmen, teachers, lawyers, clergy or clerics, the rich and the poor must work together to fight a common enemy.

"The war against terror may be difficult, but the days of peace will come again. Terror is evil; nowhere in history has evil endured forever.

"The menace of Boko Haram will surely come to an end. I believe that because of your prayers, your courage, hard work, faith and sacrifice, we will ultimately prevail over the terrorists and all other evil forces."

He commended the Armed Forces for the supreme price they have paid so far in confronting insecurity, urging Nigerians to always appreciate them, rather than castigate them.

He urged Nigerians to continue to show confidence in the military's ability win the war against terror, pointing out that there was no doubt that, with the support of Nigerians, the country's neighbours and the international community, the country would reinforce her defence, free the girls and rid Nigeria of terrorists.


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