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Jonathan holds emergency security meeting on North-East

By The Citizen
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President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday held an emergency security meeting with security chiefs as well as the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, focusing on ‎the security situation in the North East.

This is even as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Bade, ‎has confirmed that the Chadian and Nigerien troops have pulled out from the Multinational Joint Task Force  (MNJTF) following the attack on the taskforce base in Baga, Borno State.

The terrorist sect, Boko Haram had on Saturday at about 5 a.m ‎attacked the base in which Nigerian and allied troops including some Boko Haram were killed while others abandoned the MNJTF headquarters.

The meeting which lasted for over an hour had in attendance, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Governors of Adamawa, Bala Ngileri‎, Yobe, Ibrahim Gaidem, (accompanied by his predecessor, senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim)‎, Borno, Kashim Shetima (accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Abba Ahmed Gida)‎ and the Kaduna State Governor, Ramalan Yero‎.

Others were the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Bade, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, Director General State Security Service (SSS), Ekpenyong Ita, Inspector General of Police, Sulieman Abba‎, and DG National Intelligence Agency , Ayo Oke.

Others are Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke‎, Minister of Defence, Mohammed Gusau and Secretary to the Government of the Federation‎, Anyim Pius Amyim.

Fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Badeh who assured that security situation would improved this year, while insisting that the Nigerien and Chadian troops were still part of the MNJTF said, ‎”No. They have not pulled out of multinational force because we have held several meetings, they are still part of the multinational force. What has been happening is that they have not contributed troops to the point of Baga. Chad has people on their own side but I believe they have withdrawn. Niger had people with us they too withdrew and left Nigeria only at the multinational force headquarters”.

On the suggestion that the borders between Nigeria, Chad, and Niger should be closed, the CDS said, “I wish it could be closed but how do you close such a very large border? And it is not for military to close border any way or is it?”

Asked to speak more  on the military base attack at  Baga, he said, “Of course there was an attack. Don’t worry we are at work”.

On if Baga can be taken back from the insurgents, Badeh replied, “Why not? I can’t give you exactly what is going to happen”.

‎On what should Nigerians expect in the new year in terms of security, he said, “It will improve by God’s grace we are working”.

Meanwhile, ‎former governor of Yobe Bukar Abbah Ibrahim has kicked against the suggestion of border closure‎.

According to him, “A border of 1,500 kilometers from Yewa in Borno down to Kebbi how are you going to close that?”

Speaking on a similar challenge during his tenure, he said the insurgents though a small group were crushed by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Asked if‎ he envisaged the magnitude of the insurgency, Ibrahim said, “Not only did I envisaged it I went through it. It was President Obasanjo who crushed the Yobe talibans over a period of just few weeks being a former military man. We went through this, they came to Damaturu they killed people, burnt DPO’s offices, police officers,doctors, nurses were and so any people were killed but within a short time Obasanjo was able to crushed them”.

Asked if he was blaming the level of insurgency  on the nation’s leadership, the former Yobe Governor said, “No. But this one is a more terrible one than the earlier one, the earlier one I think was a small one, it was a small insurgency, this one is very huge with some international connections”.