Press Briefing By The Coordinator, Nic At The National Briefing Centre, Abuja On Wednesday, April 8, 2015
1. The Need for Continued Vigilance As Nigerians Prepare For Governorship and State Assembly Elections.
We congratulate all Nigerians on the successful conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections that were held on March 28, 2015. We commend, especially, the Nigerian military and security agencies for ensuring an atmosphere of peace and safety that guaranteed the smooth conduct of the elections not only throughout Nigeria, but also and especially the North-eastern states. A testament to the successful conduct of these elections is the rebound in the capital market and especially in the foreign exchange market. We also wish to use this platform to remind Nigerians of the imperative of their participation in the next leg of the General elections scheduled to hold on April 11, 2015.
As efforts are being made to ensure a hitch – free exercise, the NIC wishes to reassure Nigerians, especially those living in communities that recently experienced some security challenges arising from the activities of Boko Haram resurgence, that our military and security forces are, more than ever, very ready to ensure the protection of lives and property, while securing the country’s territorial integrity.
Recall that in our statement on the eve of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, we reiterated to Nigerians the need to exercise the highest level of vigilance and also scrutinize the activities of unknown and strange persons within their environment. In respect of the forthcoming Governorship and State Assembly Elections, we remind the citizens to maintain a similar level of vigilance and caution to ensure a peaceful and incident – free exercise. The Military’s real successes in regaining control of Boko Haram’s strongholds in Borno is a testament to our troops’ unwavering commitment to defeating the insurgency. Reclaiming Nigerian territories and establishment of an atmosphere of peace and safety remains the government’s top priority. There is need therefore for deepening cooperation among African countries to stem the tide of insurgency, continent-wide.
2. General Situation Report on the North East
In the face of the unrelenting onslaught by the Nigerian military forces against the Boko Haram aimed at subduing the group’s violent campaign and degrading its harmful influence and philosophy, the NIC wishes to reiterate the confirmation by the Defence Headquarters of the recent campaign by the Nigerian military against some Boko Haram locations in Borno State, particularly Alagarno where the insurgents were routed and their equipment such as armoured vehicles, arms and ammunition captured. This is yet another manifestation of the unrelenting effort of the Nigerian military forces and those of the regional military cooperation at permanently checkmating the spread of Boko Haram insurgency in the sub-region. It also reinforces government’s determination to intensify the fight against terror.
Lately, there have been reported cases of surprise attacks on some communities in the North East by the Boko Haram, but the recent siege on Alagarno, a well-known and strategic Boko Haram stronghold, has dealt a severe blow on the operations of the insurgent group which is experiencing its last days in the region. In a situation such as presently exists in the area, there is a high tendency for the insurgent group to suddenly aim at soft targets to destabilize communities which are regaining normalcy. However, the Nigerian military has continued to bring the situation under control and also safeguard the lives and property of citizens, while humanitarian assistance is being provided by appropriate authorities.
The NIC, therefore, calls on Nigerians, particularly those living in the affected communities, to continue to support the efforts of our military and security forces at restoring normalcy in the area.
National Information Centre
April 8, 2015
VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTION OF NIC INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH THE MEDIA WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2015
My name is Fredrick Nwabufo from The Cable. There was an attempt to hack into INEC data base we want to know what stage are you at in investigating the matter I mean, will it continue since the APC is forming the next government? Thank you.
Fredrick, I think you will come to my office for an answer. When I brief the press, I brief them in my office. It is not a general National Information Centre affair, so I really appreciate that. It has to be properly handled.
Good afternoon. My name is Friday Okeregbe reporting for Channels TV. It is exactly one year now since the Chibok girls were abducted. What information do you have about their rescue or their whereabouts?
My name is Adebiyi Adedapo reporting for ThisDay. In follow up to Friday’s question, there was a report; UN report that the Chibok girls might have been killed among those who were slaughtered thrown inside the well in Baga, I don’t know if you have any information on this. Thank you.
The search for the Chibok girls continues. And that is why, even the recapture of Bama and the rest, security and the military have not retreated. So, again, until the exercise is concluded, we cannot just begin to believe speculative conclusions on such events and I think the anniversary you are talking about which is sad to say is next week and we hope to give you the comprehensive information on what we know so far and how far the journey has gone. The assurance I will give you is that everywhere is being combed and whatever element or results found will be made known. However, appropriate deployment is ongoing and that nobody is going to let go of the citizen of this country till it becomes unavoidable and we have not reached that stage yet.
Faith Aghaeze from Union Newspaper. There is this rumour about Gen. Buhari’s school certificate being found, we want to know if it is true.
I kick it to the military. They will answer you appropriately. We didn’t discuss anybody’s certificate here.
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Enemako Willson from WEE FM. I will like to direct this question to DSS spokesperson. We heard the comment by Oba of Lagos, Nigerians know that it is quite inciting and we heard from this centre that certainly that inciting comments at this period of elections are not acceptable. What will the DSS do regarding this because a lot of are already angry?
ANSWER (Marilyn Ogar DSS)
Enemako Wilson, without wasting your time, I think we are taking appropriate actions and I am sure you are aware that yesterday, the Service has once again warned all Nigerians not to stop the ambience of peace within the country. If we have Presidential election come and go successfully, we wouldn’t want people to begin to pimple sentiments unnecessarily so we are having peace please.
(Coordinator) I think this is not the season to gloat and create problem. This is a time for us Nigerians to unite our hearts and hands towards the onerous task of building a country of our dream. It is not about political party, it is about Nigeria and Nigerians. Whoever is coming into government, is coming as a Nigerian and he has a responsibility to Nigerians. All of us that voted on that day handed over our own portion of serious responsibility to those that are elected into the office and so we need cooperation, we don’t need to tear ourselves apart because someone won or someone lost. Well individuals lost but the victory is Nigeria’s. And that is the point that we should celebrate. Let me please make this appeal, ladies and gentlemen, you report this issue of mercenary, we later found out that they were not even here. I had to travel abroad for just 2 days and the issue of mercenary finished. We went to a place where they were manufacturing the story of mercenary in Nigeria and prove to them that they also have mercenaries there. Their own is even known and by the time we finish the argument, the story of mercenary died. Let us as Nigerian journalists, and that is why even if there is really nothing to say I always want us to meet within this hall to share ideas, let us not be given to rumours that come from elsewhere because that destroys society. I am very proud to say that since my interaction with you began your reporting, you have become the first set of real journalists that I have met actively on duty that are helping to rebuild a progressive country. I am not flattering you because you are here but because of the nature of reportage and the fact that all of you at one point or the other made efforts to look for us or waited for this centre to interact and you remain within the precinct of interaction we had here. I wish that even those who join us; our colleagues and counterparts that join us across the world here that want to send our stories should wait for this kind of atmosphere and environment, so particularly, if I have the chance any day, I will remember this moment, I will remember you and I will work with you as those patriots that help this country at a time it needed people of conscience and goodwill like you to stand by it so I thank you. Since there are no more questions see you next week and stay out of trouble, make sure you go and vote if you have your card, if you don’t have your card sorry try next time.