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Let Us Unite Against Boko Haram

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> At a time that our nation is facing the menace of terrorism, it is of utmost importance that all Nigerians, irrespective of their regional, religious or political affiliations, should be united in supporting the Federal Government and all the security agencies in the fight to end terror in our country.

> As a father, I deeply sympathise with the parents of the abducted Chibok girls and pray for their safe return.  No parent should have to experience what the parents of these innocent girls are passing through on account of this outrageous abduction by Boko Haram. I also understand the anger that has been expressed through the global #BringBackOurGirls movement and wish to state that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are fully committed to ensuring the safe return of our daughters.

> I must, however, deplore the situation where some opposition politicians have tried to make political issues out of it by calling for the resignation of President Jonathan over a group that is waging war against the Nigerian state.  Such behaviour is unbecoming of patriotic citizens of a democratic nation like Nigeria.  When militants gunmen attacked a shopping mall in Kenya, killing many people and holding many others hostage, the opposition leader, Rahila Odinga, stood right beside the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, while the latter was addressing Kenyans on the dastardly attack. We are all witnesses to the fact that when al-Qaeda attacked the United States of America and the United Kingdom, citizens of those countries, irrespective of political affiliations, closed ranks and supported their respective Governments in their fight against the perpetrators of terror.  In these specific cases, political opponents did not ask their President/ Prime minister to resign.

> Boko Haram is a threat to Nigeria and to our democracy.  Nobody is more aware of this fact than President Jonathan. That is why the President is doing all that is within his constitutional powers to fight the terrorist group.  It is his respect for constitutionalism that has kept him from employing jack-boot methods.  I make bold to say that no president of Nigeria could have done better within the ambits of constitutional powers!

> Unfortunately, certain comments I have heard or read in recent times from some Nigerians who ought to know better make me wonder if they expect the President to put on a helmet, pick up a rifle and personally march into Sambisa Forest.  I ask: where in the world does a President do that?

> I am also amazed that some Nigerians have forgotten so soon that President Jonathan has replaced service chiefs twice since he assumed office in a bid to bolster the operational efficiency of the military.

> Fighting terrorism is a unique kind of confrontation, unlike conventional warfare where enemy targets are easy to identify.  In this respect, we must differentiate between the Boko Haram insurgency and the Niger Delta militancy.   Whereas, the Niger Delta militants were known persons, the Boko Haram insurgents are faceless.  It was because the individuals involved in the Niger Delta militancy were known that some of us, including President Jonathan (who was then Vice President), were able to engage them in negotiations that led to a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Negotiations of this sort are difficult in the Boko Haram case.

> All over the world, fighting terrorism takes time and requires patience, cooperation and national unity.  The United Nations has expressed solidarity with Nigeria and pledged its support for the country's efforts at tackling the Boko Haram insurgency. There is no doubt that there are challenges but it is disheartening that some Nigerians are unsupportive of President Jonathan's genuine efforts in the war against Boko Haram, even when nations such as France, United States of America and Great Britain have been collaborating with Nigeria and her Francophone neighbours (Chad, Niger, Benin Republic and Cameroon) in search of a solution to the crisis.

> The Boko Haram insurgency is not against Jonathan as an individual, rather it is against the Nigerian state.  That is why our collective efforts are needed to tackle the challenges.  In this respect, the military needs assistance, especially vital information from the citizenry, to work with.

> President Jonathan has said it several times that in fighting Boko Haram, the Federal Government is dealing with fellow Nigerians, who are brothers and sisters. Consequently, the military cannot deploy its full might against them.  Besides, doing so would be against international rules of engagement. We must be tactful not to allow the insurgents to use our children as shields.

> I, therefore, urge all Nigerians to stand united behind President Jonathan, the Federal Government and the security agencies in this fight against terror. The message to Boko Haram from all Nigerians must be: we will never bow to terror!

> Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
> Chief (Dr) Tony Anenih, CFR
> Chairman
> PDP Board of Trustees (BoT)
> May 18, 2014