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Garba Shehu expresses uncertainty over total clamp down on terrorism

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THE presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, has noted his uncertainty towards the total clamp down on Boko Haram activities in the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shehu, who said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise program on Monday, noted that insurgency is an ongoing global challenge, although more sophisticated in other countries.

He said Boko Haram is a phase that has faded away in the country, especially in the rise of emerging security challenges such as banditry and kidnappings.

Shehu expressed satisfaction over the paradigm shift from the insecurity level in the past administration compared to the current administration of President Buhari.

He said recent successes have been recorded, especially in the launch of ‘operation Puff Adder’ by the police, which has led to the arrest of over 150 suspected kidnappers and bandits as well as the recovery  of huge quantities of weapons, guns, surprisingly, locally made semi-automatic weapons, revolvers that have multiple cartridges in Anambra, Plateau and Zamfara.

“Government and security agencies have identified and have to deal with the availability of weapons if the war against insecurity must be won,” Shehu said.

He said the security agencies have identified and streamlined their focus on tackling the source of weapons, manufactured locally or imported, noting that ‘weapons are the oxygen to crime’.

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“They will replenish because these things are readily available. Government has identified local manufacturers and seized weapons. Government is also internationalizing this campaign.”

The ICIR reports that The Islamic State militant group (ISIS), in June 2015 described the Nigerian Army as an exhausted force that has virtually collapsed.

It noted that contrary to claims made by the military of its recent successes against the sect, the Boko Haram insurgents have taken control of many parts of Nigeria and that their attacks are intensifying and pushing back the military.

In 2016, however, the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai injected a new life, into the military counterinsurgency, by replacing soldiers who have spent more than two years in the operation.

The 2018 World Terrorism Index Report (WTIR), in October 2018, noted that the counter-terrorism operations of the Nigerian military have yielded positive results so far as it is evidenced by the drop in the number of terrorism-related deaths in the country.

However, an investigation by The ICIR shows that Nigerian security operatives are significantly sabotaging the government’s efforts to eliminate Boko Haram as they aid the distribution of huge volumes of petrol and other fuel products to the deadly group.

This has, nevertheless, fueled an allegation by the military authorities that the new phase of kidnapping and banditry terrorising northeastern Nigeria stem from unsatisfied political actors regarding the outcome of the 2019 election.

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