Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says it’s difficult to say exactly if Boko Haram will ever be eradicated in Nigeria. He, however, said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration should be praised for reducing the insurgents’ attacks against the country considerably.
It may be recalled that the Federal Government had, in 2016, claimed to have defeated Boko Haram.
Shehu, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme, said this in Abuja on Monday.
The President’s spokesman made the point when he was reminded that thousands of Internally Displaced Persons had yet to return to their homes, while periodic attacks by insurgents still take place in some parts of the North-East.
In response, Shehu said, “Well, I can’t promise you that Boko Haram will or will not be eradicated. But it is an ongoing challenge, globally.
“Even in more advanced countries, more ‘weaponised’ nations, it is still a challenge.
“The point we are making is that the attacks you just cited are still a far cry from the enormity of those attacks we have seen in the past.
“They have been greatly minimised and they are being pushed farther away from the national population.”
Shehu also lamented the proliferation of small arms in the country, which he said has worsened the issue of banditry in the country.
He, however, said the Police, through its operation Puff Adder outfit, had been able to arrest over 160 bandits across the country.
The President’s spokesman added, “Our security services are coming to terms with the fact that this (weapons proliferation) is one area they have to tackle.
“The source of weapons – whether locally manufactured or imported – must be tackled; otherwise, it will continue, because it is oxygen to crime.”
He expressed fear that even weapons that had been seized by the Police from bandits would be replaced by the criminals because weapons are easily available.
Shehu added, “So, we are looking into the source of the weapons. As I said, the government has identified the manufacturers and many people have been arrested along with weapons.”
The President’s aide said neighbouring countries were also assisting Nigeria in the area of curbing weapons’ smuggling. (Punch)
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