by Stanley Azuakola
On Thursday, in Maiduguri, the Defence authorities, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, declared that the Federal Government cannot set a deadline to end the activities of the Boko Haram sect and other terror groups in the North and other parts of the country.
He cited the complex nature of terrorism as the reason government can’t do such a thing. He said it would be a counter-military strategy. The defence chief also endorsed the FG’s current overtures to the Boko Haram sect, but said that it doesn’t stop the military from continuing to tackle the security issues as the government continues trying to reach a political solution.
The position of the defence minister marks a clear departure from that of President Goodluck Jonathan, who stated in March that the terrorist activities of Boko Haram would end by March.
According to a Guardian report:
Petinrin, who spoke yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno State, noted that “it takes time to deal decisively with the phenomenon,” which he described as a global threat to security of life and property.
He spoke alongside the inspector general of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, when they distributed 50,000 exercise books and commissioned nine boreholes sunk by the military in Gamborou Ward and three other wards in the Maiduguri metropolis.
The defence chief said: “I cannot give the specific time the Boko Haram insurgency will be put at bay in securing lives and property in Borno State and the country at large. The issue of terrorism or criminality is a difficult thing, once people import it into any society, it is not always easy to completely wipe it off, but we have to continue to manage the situation and be conscious of our security more than before.”
Petinrin noted that in the United States (U. S.), “there has not been any serious attack since the September 11 (9/11) episode, but the country and Americans have remained watchful than the pre-9/11 era. They have been managing the problem, so I can’t give you a definite time when the crisis will be over but I know that we are on course.”
He told reporters that there was nothing like “everything is over or let us go home and sleep even when we might have substantially tackled the Boko Haram issue. No, we have to continue to manage it.”
Petinrin said the military was not opposed to the dialogue initiated by the Federal Government with the terror group, stating that the responsibility of the security forces was to protect lives and property in the country.
“The Federal Government owns everything, including the military and the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno, so it can dialogue with the terror outfit. But for us, we are not trained to get people talking and we don’t even have the competence to do that,” he said.
The JTF Commander, Maj.-Gen. Jah Ewansia, appealed to residents of Maiduguri to co-operate with the security forces on the closure of most roads in the metropolis during the visit of Petinrin and Abubakar.
He said the JTF took the measure to ensure smooth movement for the defence chiefs following the heavy traffic situation in the city and apologised to the residents for the inconveniences the action caused them.