President Muhammadu Buhari has once again dismissed the threat constituted by Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast region.
Buhari rode to the presidency in 2015 partly based on a promise to destroy the Islamic sect that has terrorised the restive region since 2009.
And even though his administration significantly diminished the operational capacity of the terrorist group, factions of the group are still able to carry out devastating attacks over the past few years.
This has not stopped Buhari from downplaying the group’s capacity for years after first declaring it ‘technically defeated’ in December 2015.
During a meeting with state governors and security chiefs on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Buhari dispelled the commonly held assumptions that the terrorists possess better weapons than the military, and more money than the government.
His spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in a statement quoted him as describing what’s left of the terrorist group as “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process”.
Despite his dismissal, the president expressed concern about how the terrorists are still able to access weapons despite the fact Nigeria has shut down its land borders with neighbouring countries since 2019.
He promised the governors that service chiefs have strict instructions to rejig the military’s operations, and admitted that Nigeria’s intelligence-gathering must be improved.
“We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations. I am glad that there is better synergy and cooperation which are very important,” he said.
Internal security challenges across the country were the main issue discussed at Tuesday’s meeting attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies, and members of the Security Committee of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The governors highlighted the problems of poverty, unemployment, trust deficit between the military and civilian populations, and the inflow of small arms into the country.
They also urged Buhari to consider a bail out for security for the states in view of the enormity of the resources they now expend in support of the military and the police.
Buhari said there’s an imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China, and the United States that will further boost the nation’s fight against insecurity.
He asked Nigerians for patience as the military trains personnel with the new weapons.