By Olusegun Lawrence The Presidency has accused the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) of a deliberate attempt to disseminate “hate mentality” and cause mischief among Nigerians by suggesting that the Federal Government is carrying out any scheme to annihilate any section of the country for political gain.
Reacting to a twin ultimatum issued on Monday in Kaduna, by NEF in a statement jointly signed by Solomon Dalung and Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, posited that President Goodluck Jonathan does not require any threat or ultimatum from any group of persons to be alive to his responsibilities to the Nigerian People.
The Northern Elders Forum had in the statement gave the President up to October ending to end Boko Haram insurgency in the north and to rescue the over 200 girls abducted four months ago in Chibok, Borno State.
They also said meeting the twin demands would guarantee their support for President Jonathan should he decides to seek re-election in 2015.
But, the Presidential aide reminded them that the President was voted for by an overwhelming majority of Nigerians across the board, and he will never promote any policy that is either divisive or inimical to the wellbeing of any section of the polity.
According to him, what the country needs to end insurgency and insecurity across the land is total co-operation, of all its citizens and stakeholders, with the Government and our military and the security agencies.
On the issue of insurgency and rescue of the Chibiok girls, Okupe highlighted the efforts government is making to ensure that peace and tranquillity return to every nooks and crannies of the country.
He stated, “The issue of Insurgency especially those ideologically based on Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon and requires tact, military capability, serious de-radicalisation techniques and community based counter insurgency programmes to ensure success.
“In these areas, the Federal Government is making progress:-
“We are improving on our operational capabilities and efficiencies by acquiring more advanced weapons and technologies for our military and security agencies.
“We have drafted more military personnel to the region to strengthen the fighting power of our armed forces.
“We are taking advantage of the offers from our international military and intelligence allies to assist in identifying key locations.
“We are working with our neighbours to secure the borders and limit the movements of the Boko Haram fighters, building on the agreements reached at the recent summits in Paris and London.
“We are deploying more resources to maximize operational efficiency, acquire more advanced and relevant weaponry and boost the general morale of our combatants. This is why the Government recently requested for an additional funding of $1bn.
“And the last piece in the puzzle is targeting the domestic and international funding, and stopping the money flows into the coffers of the terrorists.
“With all these efforts and the support of our allies, these steps will help fight the threat of the Boko haram and move us closer to bringing the girls back safely.
“Lastly, the suggestion that the Government is carrying out any scheme to annihilate any section of the country for political gain is preposterous, contrary to common sense, divisive and essentially a deliberate attempt to disseminate “hate mentality” and cause mischief.
“We wish to assure Nigerians that in spite of this and many more distractions, the President is focused on continued successful executions of his transformation Agenda; and the guarantee of the security of lives and properties of the Nigerian people”.