Boko Haram excesses must stop at all cost - Jonathan

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan, has said the federal government was ready to commit every resources at its disposal to ensure that the excesses of the violent Boko Haram sect was brought to an end.

In an interview with journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,  where he is attending the 21st Conference  of  African Union, President Jonathan  said his administration would no longer tolerate the wanton killings by Boko Haram or any terrorist group for that matter.

According to Jonathan, in order to check the activities of terrorists in Africa, all African leaders must come together to confront the challenge.

He warned that while some countries such as Nigeria had robust military and security apparatuses to confront terrorism, other African countries might not be able to do so on their own.

Threat of terrorism
President Jonathan said the threat of terrorism to African countries was 'fairly big and  if we don't move fast because only some days ago, because of what is happening in Nigeria, it is now difficult for the terrorist to operate  and they have moved into Niger Republic.

'There was a suicide attack in two places simultaneously in Niger Republic, leading to the death of about 19 or 20 soldiers. Niger Republic has been relatively calm though they have been noticing the movement because it is a general area from Mali, Niger, Chad to Nigeria.

'But because Nigeria is fairly big, we now said no, this must stop. They are now moving, Central Africa, North Africa, West Africa; East Africa is not also safe.

'It is only Southern Africa that is relatively peaceful in terms of terror. And it is a serious business. That it why all Presidents and Heads of Government on this continent must come together to fight, otherwise, they will create more problems, especially for countries that cannot contain them.

'Luckily, Nigeria is fairly rugged, fairly robust so we can confront it and we are confronting it now because we can no longer watch people being killed and it must stop. The excesses of Boko Haram must stop. That is the decision of this present government now. It must stop; whatever it will cost the government. But not all the countries can confront it.'

He revealed that the government had evolved a three-pronged strategy to check the Boko Haram insurgency, with a view to defeating it, adding that this involved the short, medium and long term approach.

He said:  'We are doing everything to make sure that we contain it in terms of immediate term, medium term and long term. For the short term, of course, there must be military intervention, you must beef up security, you must change the security architecture to make sure that you detect that something is about to happen before it happens so that you will be able to stop it.

'We have stopped a number of incidents in the country. It is just that the few that happen affect life and whenever life is affected, you will not even think that somebody is doing anything. That is why recently, I even had to declare a state of emergency in three states so that we go all out to make sure that we seize these weapons. We must comb the whole place to seize all these weapons.

Weapons and Libya crisis
'A lot of free weapons come in because of the Libyan crisis. We must seize them. They are illegal weapons and must be seized and you cannot do that without declaring a state of emergency to enable the military enter any house, whether it is a residential building, it is a church, a mosques, a shrine, anywhere, hotel, anything that we suspect. We will be able to enter and seize these weapons.'

On  the medium term strategy, President Jonathan said his government would ensure that a sizeable population of school-going age in the most affected areas had access to schools in order to insulate them from being brainwashed by leaders of the Boko Haram sect.