In far away Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Goodluck Jonathan has again, vowed to crush the insurgents in the northern part of Nigeria no matter what it will cost his administration.
This is just as he told the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon that the state of emergency being enforced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states may not last up to six months prescribed by the constitution.
President Jonathan disclosed this on Sunday during a meeting with Mr Ki-Moon on the sideline of the ongoing Special Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to him, with the level of success recorded by the Special Forces so far in the three states, troops may be pulled out sooner than later.
He expressed satisfaction with the operation, saying the minimal number of civilian casualties attested to the fact that troops have been adhering strictly to the rules of engagement laid down.
The President also assured that his government would continue to protect the civilians in those states.
Speaking, the Secretary General reiterated his call on the military to play by the rules of engagement by ensuring that the civilians are well protected.
He sympathized with the government and people of Nigeria over the activities of Boko Haram, insisting terrorism as a global phenomenon must be confronted by all.
Fielding questions from journalists on the sideline of the Special Summit of the African Union, making its 50th anniversary, the President said their activities must stop forthwith.
“The excesses of Boko Haram must stop. That is the decision of this present government now. It must stop, whatever it will cost the government, it must stop,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction with the ongoing military operation in the three states- Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where emergency rule is in place, saying it is a short term measure that is compulsory to contain the insurgency.
President Jonathan however, regretted that members of the sect are now moving towards Niger Republic, saying effort must be intensified to curb proliferation of small and light weapons on the continent.
“For the short term, of course, there must be military intervention, we must beef up security, we must change the security architecture to make sure that we detect that something is about to happen before it happens so that we will be able to stop it.
“We have stopped a number of incidents in the country. It is just that the few that happened affect life and whenever life is affected, you will not even think that somebody is doing anything.
“That is why recently, I even had to declare a state of emergency in three states so that we go all out to make sure that we seize these weapons. We must comb the whole place to seize all these weapons and so on.
“A lot of free weapons come in because of the Libya crisis. We must seize them. They are illegal weapons and must be seized and you cannot do that without declaring a state of emergency to enable the military enter any house, whether it is a residential building, it is a church, a mosque, a shrine, anywhere, hotel, anything that we suspect. We will be able to enter and seize these weapons.
“In the short term, it is to seize these weapons. That is why those three states we have the worst cases; we declared a state of emergency. By the time we finish combing, we would have not just stopped it there but we would have seized most of the weapons they are using. That is the short term.”
He noted that the ongoing military operation in north-east Nigeria has compelled the insurgents to move towards the borders, saying “Niger Republic had been relatively calm. Although they have been noticing the movement because it is a general area from Mali, Niger, Chad to Nigeria but because Nigeria is fairly big, we now said ‘no, this must stop.’
“They are now moving, Central Africa, North Africa, West Africa; East Africa is not also safe. Even in Ethiopia here, there were a lot of terrorist activities before but it is now coming down, same with Somalia. So, it is only southern Africa that is relatively peaceful in terms of terror.
“It is a serious business. That it why all presidents and heads of government on this continent must come together to fight, otherwise, they will create more problems especially for countries that cannot contain them.
“Luckily, Nigeria is fairly rugged, fairly robust. So, we can confront it and we are confronting it now because we can no longer watch people being killed and it must stop.”
Meanwhile, the Presidency on Sunday described as mischievous, reports in some media that President Jonathan went missing when he was billed to address a special summit of the AU on Saturday in Addis Ababa.
Presidential Media Advisor, Reuben Abati explained that President Jonathan was attended the opening session until he went into another hall where he met with four other Presidents on the proposed six-lane Lagos-Abidjan Expressway which is also an important issue as far as Nigeria is concerned.
His words, “it t is perfectly normal for Presidents to meet on the sidelines of any international meeting, and as the AU plenary went on, many Presidents stepped out to hold bilateral meetings and returned to the hall”.