The Boko Haram insurgency may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history if the pronouncements of the new Nigerian president is anything to go by.
President Muhammadu Buhari said shortly after he was sworn in at the Eagle Square on Friday that his government would ensure that the violent religious sect is totally defeated, while also acknowledging the helping hands offered the country by neighbours Chad, Cameroon and Niger in the fight against terrorism.
Buhari explained that while progress has been made in the fight against the insurgent group in recent weeks, the fight was far from being over.
“Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued,” he said.
He also established his commitment to rescuing the Chibok Girls who were kidnapped on April 14, 2014 by Boko Haram. In fact, the president stated that the fight against Boko Haram cannot end without the girls being rescued.
He said: “But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents. This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. ”
While stating the genesis of the campaigns of violence by Boko Haram, President Buhari took a thinly-veiled swipe at his predecessor’s handling of the issue.
”Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police.
“Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion, Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.”
Buhari characterised the insurgents as a mindless bigots who have a perverted sense of religion of Islam. He said members of the group cannot claim to be speaking for Islam. He also established his plans after the group might have been defeated.
“Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued the Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence of this evil.
“For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations.
“We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.
“Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land.
“We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture.”