Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: TY Danjuma to Jonathan - Boko Haram War Taking Too Long

Former Defence Minister Lt-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma has told President Jonathan that Boko Haram insurgents appear to be having the upper hand, as they choose where to strike and capture territory.

Speaking at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday after the inauguration of the Victims' Support Fund Committee of which he is chairman, Danjuma said the battle to win the insurgency war has already taken too long.

He said not only do the Boko Haram militants choose where to strike, but they are also holding positions and displacing Nigerians.

"This war must be brought to an end. We must win this war immediately. It has taken too long. I called it civil war when it began, people say it is insurgency," said Danjuma, who also served as Chief of Army Staff in the late 1970s.

"The insurgents appear to be having an upper hand at this very moment. They pick and choose where to strike. They are even holding positions and displacing us. We must win this war. Mr. President, we must do so immediately."

Danjuma, rather jocularly, asked President Jonathan to lead the committee to Sambisa Forest, where the Boko Haram militants are thought to have set up bases.

"Mr President, one thing we (the committee) will not do is to go to Sambisa Forest. The Commander-in-Chief will lead and we will follow the Commander-in-Chief. We will raise the funds, we will disburse it. I promise you, we will do so diligently and transparently, but we must win this war Mr. President. May God bless our country," he said, amidst laughter from the audience.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, in his own remarks, agreed with Danjuma that the terror war must be quickly won, saying the government had realised that it was time to draw the line.

'B/Haram's days are numbered'

Earlier, President Goodluck Jonathan said he owed Nigerians victory against the insurgents, and assured that the battle would be won.

"We appreciate the support we're getting from foreign countries and the co-operation we are getting from our neighbours. This has given us more fillip and we are confident that the days of Boko Haram are numbered. It's now just a matter of time. Our war against terrorism is gathering momentum," Jonathan said.

"When you read about bombing incidents in the mass media, they may come across to those not directly affected as mere statistics. As the old proverb says, when you carry another man's coffin, it looks like an ordinary log of wood.

"But to us, fathers and mothers, and the families of the victims, they're not just numbers. They're human beings - sons and daughters, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters and indeed, fathers and mothers! They're Nigerians!! They're individuals with dreams and aspirations, noble Nigerians who love their country."

He added: "It's unfortunate that when our security personnel prevent 1000 attacks, it's the one attack that succeeds that makes headline news and tends to portray our security agencies as not doing enough. It is part of the realities we have to deal with."

The Victims' Support Fund Committee has Mr Fola Adeola as vice chairman, while members are Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, Mr. Cosmas Maduka, Mr. Jim Ovia, Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Alhaji Abdulsamad Isyaku Rabiu, Alhaji Sani Dauda, Mr. Wale Tinubu, NEMA Director General Mohammed Sani-Sidi, Air Vice Marshal Tony Omenyi (representing the Defence Headquarters), CP Salisu Fagge (representing the police), Mr. Sayana Yusuf (representing Department of State Services), PDP Deputy National Chairman Uche Secondus, APC Deputy National Chairman (North) Tijjani Tumsah, Alhaji Balarabe Musa (representing the Conference of the Nigerian Political Parties), Mrs. Nkechi Mba (representing the National Council of Women Societies) and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Professor Ben Angwe.

Others are a representative each for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), United Nations, British Department for International Development (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as and two representatives of local civil society/youth groups (a male and a female).

The mandate of the committee are to identify sources and ways of raising sustainable funding to support victims of terror activities; develop appropriate strategies for the fund raising; ascertain the persons, communities, facilities and economic assets affected by terror activities; assess and determine the appropriate support required in each case; manage, disburse and/or administer support to the victims as appropriate; address related challenges as may be appropriate; and advise government on other matters necessary or incidental to support victims of terror activities.

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