Nigeria’s Inability To Defeat Boko Haram Puzzles Me – Atiku
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, said he is still puzzled by the existence and operations of Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria.
The presidential hopeful said he does not understand the terrorists’ phenomenon, and wondered why they still operate despite efforts of the Nigerian Army to eliminate the group.
He made the comments during a presidential town hall on Channels TV on Sunday.
Atiku appeared on the programme alongside his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa – the Delta State governor.
He was discussing his plans to end insecurity in the country when he said there is no forest (Sambisa) in Borno State large enough to hide terrorists, recalling his service years as a Customs officer who patrolled the entire Northeast.
He said, “I still cannot understand why we should have Boko Haram. You see, I served in Borno State when it was in the Northeast, and as a Customs officer and I was patrolling the entire Northeast, so I am very conversant with the vegetation and with the border areas.
“I still cannot find a place in the Borno areas where anybody can hide and cannot be seen. I cannot understand honestly, the Boko Haram phenomenon.
“Sometimes when returning from Europe, 30 feet above, I could see a man walking in Borno State, so where is the place to hide? To the extent that they say there is a place called Sambisa forest. I have been there. I didn’t see a forest. It is just shrubs here and there.
“So we have deployed the Nigerian military which used to be one of the best in the world. They have fought, you know, a number of the international arena and they have excelled and here we have deployed them with their might and everything and we just could not eliminate Boko Haram.
“So I am puzzled. So maybe when I get there, I will understand, but honestly, I cannot understand the Boko Haram phenomenon.
“Everything is there. Politics is there, business is there, security, everything. Of course, the solution is leadership, strong leadership to deal with all these interest groups within the military and outside the military.”
When asked about his position on militancy if it arose again in the PDP administration, Okowa said with appropriate leadership, there would not be a recurrence of such in the South-South.
He said, “I believe that once you provide the needed governance, it is unlikely that militancy will return. You first need to ask what led to that. People felt ignored. People felt excluded from governors, they were not seeing the infrastructure. Their children didn’t find the space to get properly educated, to get access to justice.”
Speaking on how he would improve security, Atiku made reference to the security architecture of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), stressing that there’s a need to reform the country’s security architecture.
He added: “I have been to several parts of the world. One of the security architectures that I admire is the UAE security architecture. It is primarily based on the monitoring.
“You don’t see policemen in uniform in UAE; you don’t see soldiers. But eventually, everybody’s being monitored on a daily basis and particularly if you’re a visitor.
“From the moment you step into the country and go out, you are being watched. That is the deployment of technology as far as security is concerned.
“We have to look at the current security structure. How do we reform it to ensure that we give people the most secure environment wherever they may be?
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