The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has demanded the release of Action Against Hunger workers abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect in Borno State.
The group, which made this demand on Thursday, said it was saddened that Boko Haram terrorists continue to quest for relevance even though the beatings they have taken at the hands of the Nigerian military do not leave them in a position to continue such pursuit.
Addressing a news conference on Thursday, Gabriel Onoja, the National Coordinator of CATE said Boko Haram trying to raise funds to finance its terror activities with the adduction of the aid workers.
It also urged the Federal Government to take stiff punitive measures, beyond what has been done before, against Boko Haram fighters if they hold onto longer than another 48 hours.
Full text of his speech below.
Such pointless show of bravado is the abduction of workers of Action Against Hunger, an interventional non-governmental organization that is committed to bringing relief to the population impacted by Boko Haram's atrocities in the Northeast of Nigeria.
This action of Boko Haram is condemnable in the highest sense possible. It shows that the terrorists are not intelligent enough to embrace the offer of surrender made by the military. This rejection of an otherwise sound offer is a death wish on the part of the remaining Boko Haram fighters, for which we commiserate for them.
The Nigerian Government through the military has been kind and magnanimous enough in its approach towards ending Boko Haram by allowing those who cannot withstand the firing power of the Nigerian military to surrender and be re-absorbed back into the society.
In the past, when Boko Haram took hostages, it usually coincides with when the terror group was broke and desperately in need of money. Knowing that the military has seriously destroyed Boko Haram's cache of weapons and food stuck, in addition to the fact that the terrorists had overstretched themselves and exhausted their resources in recent months.
The abduction of the NGO workers is all about Boko Haram trying to raise funds for financing its terror activities. The terrorists are broke and seeking means to extort money from either the Federal Government of Nigeria or international organizations operating within the areas affected by their terrorist activities.
We call on Boko Haram to unconditionally release the workers of Action Against Hunger. They are into work that help the population forget the wickedness that Boko Haram is about so the terrorists should see these courageous workers as pleading for mercy on their own behalf. Boko Haram should know that there shall be consequences if any harm befalls their captives.
The terrorists must also know that the captives' prolonged stay in captivity will further expose it as a group whose members must be hunted off the face of the Earth. This is the one abduction that will prove expensive for the sect.
These terrorists must not deceive themselves any further but to do the needful by releasing the aid workers and turning away from their evil ways.
If they fail to do so, Nigerians are confident in the military to fight to the finish until the last captive is released and last Boko Haram is seen by the Nigerian authorities.
We urge the Federal Government to take stiff punitive measures, beyond what has been done before, against Boko Haram fighters if they hold onto longer than another 48 hours. The government should give the marching order to the military to decimate the terrorists accordingly.
Knowing that terrorists have become desperate to raise money from abductions, we appeal to the military and intelligence community to intensify efforts at thwarting further attempts to abduct aid workers and foreigners. The military curtail free movement of foreigners into the region so that they will not provide ready funds to the sect.
Nigeria's international partners should be updated in this regard so that they can advise their nationals against falling into terrorists' trap. Particular advisory must be issued to French nationals who have a history of getting abducted and paying ransom that has kept the terrorist organization running.