The Federal Government on Tuesday insisted that it has won the war against Boko Haram terrorists.
The insistence is coming even as the terrorists continue to attack and kill innocent Nigerians especially in the North-East.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, made the claim of victory over the insurgents in a statement on Tuesday.
According to him, the incessant attacks in the North East are carried out by “remnants of the Boko Haram, fugitive criminals, and the Islam in Maghreb together with West African terrorists bonding together.”
Shehu maintained that the increase of trans-border crimes and the proliferation of small arms witnessed in the Lake Chad Basin area were as a result of ‘these international gangs.’
He said, “The position of the Nigerian government is that the Boko Haram terrorism has been degraded and defeated. The real Boko Haram we know is defeated.
“What we have now is a mixture of remnants of the Boko Haram, fugitive criminals, and the Islam in Maghreb together with West African terrorists bonding together.
“This is a fall out of the collapse of the Libyan State, and from farther away, of the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. They are taking advantage of our porous Sahelian borders. ”
According to the presidential aide, the size and porous nature of the Nigerian borders also support terrorism activities.
He said “our porous borders in the neighbouring Sahel-Sahara region, and a lot of ungoverned areas provide haven for terrorists’ occupation and training.
“Without the tremendous efforts of our armed forces and the joint operations by the Nigeria-led Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF, formed by the countries of the Lake Chad Basin, this single problem of illegal arms flow would have been much worse.”
The President’s spokesman insisted that the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari had made the country safer than it met it.
He said Boko Haram terrorism was active in nearly half the number of states in the country in 2015 when the Buhari administration took power.
Shehu claimed the terrorists had controlled a territory the size of Belgium, with a flag and systems of administration and taxation of their own.
“At present, terrorist activities have been confined to the remote, rural agrarian areas of Borno State and pockets of outrages in Adamawa and Yobe States.
“As the situation develops, our fantastic armed forces are changing their tactics. Just recently, they launched ‘Super Camps’. The essence of this is to act proactively and respond quickly to the changing nature of terrorism.
“In addition to the additional support the government of Nigeria is receiving from friendly countries across Europe, the United States and the Middle East, the Nigerian government is spending large sums of money in weapons procurement to keep our military in good fighting shape.
“While the military arsenal is not something you pay for and get, requiring mostly long-time orders, weapons will come in accordance with the terms of contracts.
“This country is expecting the commencement of the delivery of Super Tucano fighter jets, very effective in this kind of warfare, beginning next year from the United States,” he said.
He also pointed to poverty as supporting the growth of terrorism and terrorists activities adding that the recent inauguration of the Northeast Development Commission by the Buhari administration to fast track development and poverty eradication in the affected areas would further help in fighting menace.