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Nigeria Is At War- Mark

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, (THEWILL) â€' A distraught President of the Senate, David Mark, on Tuesday said Nigeria is at war and warned that the country's enemies have clearly served the nation notice of their vile intentions and as such the country must advance from fighting terrorism to fighting insurgency.

He therefore called for a decisive and maximum military response from the government beyond the imposition of a state of emergency.

Addressing senators at the resumption of plenary and other legislative activities after the Easter break, Mark declared that the insurgents were fired by zealotry and extremism.

He further warned that the country was indeed contending with insurgents and well-funded nihilists who were determined to violently trample upon the secularity of the Nigerian state and destroy the country.

'There is no doubt that our nation is at war. The enemy has clearly and unequivocally served the nation notice of its vile intentions. Therefore, a clear, unambiguous and decisive military response from the Government, beyond the imposition of a state of emergency, is urgently required in this circumstance. This is an option we must consider now.

'It is obvious that we are dealing with insurgents and well-funded nihilists who are determined to violently trample upon the secularity of the Nigerian State and destroy the country. A modern, vibrant, progressive, multi-ethnic, multi-religious Nigeria is an anathema to them. Because they are fired by zealotry and extremism, they are not likely to be swayed by overtures of any kind. We must henceforth shift from fighting terrorism to fighting insurgency.

'Our emphasis must therefore be on winning the hearts and minds of the communities in the immediate theatres of conflict. The full might and strength of our security services must now be deployed to confront this scourge and we expect our security services to rapidly re-orient their assets and capabilities so as to overcome this difficult challenge. And this must be done within the shortest possible time frame with minimal casualties. Let me emphasise that for them to achieve this they require the cooperation of all and sundry,' he said.

The Government, said the Senate President, must do all it can to immediately identify the sponsors and the source of funds to the terrorists and the insurgents, adding that in this connection, nobody who is implicated, no matter how highly placed, should not be treated as a sacred cow.

'On our part as federal legislators, we will continue to co-operate and work with all arms of government and the people to bring this unwarranted assault on our peace and unity to a swift end. We will activate and deploy every possible constitutional legislative instrument in aid of the war against terror. Every concerted effort must be made to bring this reign of terror to a decisive end.

'The breadth and scope of this assault on the Nigerian State makes for sombre reading; places of worship have been violated; pupils have been brutally murdered en masse in their dormitories; school girls have been brutalised and kidnapped from their schools; police stations and army barracks have been attacked and incinerated; lives and properties have been destroyed and whole communities uprooted and made refugees in their own country,' he added.

However, Mark lamented further: 'The tragedy is that at a time of grave national emergency like this when every Nigerian should stand in unity and openly rebuke evil, some of our country men and women,unfortunately only see this as an opportunity for partisan politics. Appallingly, rather than condemn in the strongest possible terms, they have resorted to destructive partisan diatribes that can only demoralise our troops, and the nation and encourage the insurgents. When a nation is faced with clear and present danger, what is required is a bipartisan approach and a show of support for the government and the security services.'

According to the Senate President, 'In other democracies where terrorism has been confronted with substantial success, bipartisan support for the government's counter insurgency policy and war efforts have proved vital to lasting success. We must recognise these attacks as an egregious assault on the Nigerian way of life, and a signal threat to her corporate existence. We must not quibble, nor speak along party lines. We must speak out as Nigerians, and collectively, we must flash a powerful signal against terror. Our instinctive patriotism should be on display and we must rally bipartisan support

for government to confront terror. This was what the Americans and the British did in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 7/7 London Bombings.'

He stated further: 'It is dispiriting that at the peak of bombings, abductions and senseless killings by insurgents, rather than stand together as Nigerians, some people are speaking along party lines, scheming and viewing anarchy from the prisms of partisanship. This is condemnable and totally unacceptable. We should not sell the truth to serve the hour. And the truth is that Boko Haram has declared war, not just on the present government, but on any government founded on the principles of democracy, secularity and tolerance!

'I do not by any means seek to discourage debate, nor do I abhor constructive criticisms. But the print and electronic media are daily inundated with criticisms so destructive that , at times, one is left to wonder whether the insurgents are now the heroes while those fighting them are the villains. The times donot warrant this kind of devious and divisive politicking. The impression must not be given that anybody who gives his life fighting insurgency has died in vain.

'The time has come for us to stand shoulder to shoulder as we confront this evil. As Nigerians, we must all unite across party lines with the sole aim of fighting and defeating our common enemy. If the enemy of unity, peace and progress prevails, there will be no political parties, except the party of hate, of intolerance, of anarchy, and of backwardness and bigotry and this must never stand. That is not a prospect that I, or any other Nigerian, would wish our dear country.

'I therefore call on every Nigerian to be patriotic, patient, prayerful and hopeful. There is no way a strange and anarchic ideology, not supported by any of the faiths to which we subscribe, will overcome the civilised and collective resolve of Nigerians.'

Nonetheless, the Senate President said he does not foreclose the avenue for dialogue. 'In spite of all these, let me re-emphasise my stand that we should not foreclose the avenue for dialogue as a means of finding a lasting solution to the current acts of terrorism and insurgency,' he said.