Presidency blasts APC over claims on Boko Haram
Written by Morenike Adebayo on February 26, 2015
The Presidency has rejected claims by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that President Goodluck Jonathan waited this long to rout the Boko Haram sect, in order to make political gain out of it.
It has also described as a lie the allegation made by the opposition that the Federal Government has spent $32billion on buying arms for the military.
The statement had been credited to the national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was also quoted on Tuesday as saying that the Federal Government underrated the capacity of the Boko Haram.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, accused the APC of displaying “apparent hypocrisy and insincerity of the party on this most important national issue.”
Okupe pointed out that the text of the APC statement contained “as usual some falsehoods, including quoting President Jonathan as saying that the Federal Government ‘underrated the capacity of the Boko Haram’ and waited this long to rout out the insurgents as a political trump card.
“We find these assertions by the APC as most unfortunate and certainly unpatriotic.”
He added: “In the first instance, what President Jonathan said in the interview, which has been mischievously twisted by the APC was that at the outset of the Boko Haram activities, the group was treated as a local insurgent group, in view of the fact that there was scanty information on its global network in training, funding and supply of arms.”
The presidential aide stated that there was never a time that the administration shirked its responsibilities in the fight against terror, in spite of the obvious challenges resulting from decades of failure to procure essential equipment to modernise and enhance the fighting power of the military.
According to him, the various successes recorded by the Nigerian military in their various international engagements were as a result of the fact that Nigerian soldiers were essentially equipped for specific engagements and the equipment were tailor-made for the foreign operations.
He added: “The APC ought to know that procuring military hardware is totally different from buying real estate or a piece of automobile. In most cases, the equipment have to be pre-ordered, designed and produced to specification which takes a considerable time.
“The recent success of the Nigerian military in the war against terror has been made possible by the following factors: Deployment of specially trained anti-terrorism combat squad, who were recently trained by our international partners, acquisition and deployment of more sophisticated, adequate and appropriate military hardware.
“The recent approval by the African Union and the United Nations for a broad-based international coalition to collaborate with our military.
“This approval also gives legal authority to our neighbours (Chad, Niger and Cameroon) to lawfully deploy troops on Nigerian soil, while our military can now operate beyond our borders to hunt fleeing terrorists; thus removing their safe haven.
“It is a combination of these factors that make it realistic to hope that the terrorists’ fighting capabilities will soon be terribly decimated and severely degraded thus ensuring a safer climate for both the general election and overall resumption of civic activities in the areas affected by insurgency.
“Regrettably, however, the APC, which has the unfortunate antecedent of siding the terrorists and criticising measures adopted by government to tackle insurgency, as well as demeaning the Nigerian military, does not seem to be happy with these recent successes.
“It will be recalled that on June 2, 2013, the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, who was then a leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), criticised the declaration of state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states and the subsequent military offensive measures against the Boko Haram sect.
“Buhari, who featured on the ‘Guest of the Week,’ a Hausa programme of the Kaduna-based Liberty Radio, said the Federal Government’s action was a gross injustice against the North.
“According to him, unlike the special treatment the Federal Government gave to the Niger Delta militants, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished.
“We had expected that the APC would drop this toga by unequivocally supporting government and our troops to defeat terror; especially now that it is hoping that Nigerians would entrust it with the leadership of our dear nation, but unfortunately, this appears not to be so.
“Rather, the opposition party continues to engage in bare-faced lies, double-speaking and twisting of facts to stand logic on its head in these very crucial times.
“An example of this disposition to falsehood and outlandish assertions by the APC is the claim by Alhaji Mohammed, in his press statement that government had expended a sum of $32 billion (N6.5 trillion) on the war against terrorism; a claim which is untrue and lacks any factual basis whatsoever.
“We find it very embarrassing that the APC always, desperately seeks to feed on blood-like leaches and profit from national tragedies and misfortune.
“This habit of the Nigerian main opposition political party runs contrary to what obtains in other parts of the world, where politicians rise above partisanship and quest for power in matters of this nature.
Noting how politicians across the divide cooperate in other countries when terror strikes, Okupe asked: “why can’t our own opposition party learn from the united front presented by French political leaders in the recent Charlie Hebdo terror shootings?”
He said President Jonathan had assured Nigerians that in spite of “this unfortunate disposition of the APC,” the country “will overcome this evil by eliminating the scourge of terrorism and it is crystal clear that we are not too far from this destination.”