President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the Nigerian military is on the edge of a complete annihilation of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Speaking with the BBC, the president, who had earlier given a December 31 deadline to the military to end the insurgency that has ravaged the northern states of the country for the past six years, stated that the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army have snuffed out the threat of the sect.
“I think, technically, we have won the war,” the president declared.
“Boko Haram has reverted to using improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” he stated.
“They have now been reduced to that.” “Boko Haram is an organised fighting force, I assure you, [but] we have dealt with them.”
“They cannot now marshal forces and attack towns or attack military installations and so on as they did before.
“I don’t think this is mad talking.”
Confirming the development, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, December 23, in Lagos disclosed that the Nigerian Army has met the December deadline of stamping out activities of the Boko Haram sect, saying the group members are now “sick and hungry”.
Addressing pressmen during an interactive meeting, he said: “Yes, you must remain professional at all times, and we are not asking you to do anything less, but you must also act in the national interest always.
”Acting in the national interest means not playing up the reports of the cowardly Boko Haram attacks on soft targets. Acting in the national interest means not regurgitating the propaganda of Boko Haram and its fellow terrorist group, ISIS. Acting in the national interest means extolling the bravery and sacrifice of our gallant troops. Acting in the national interest means not viewing the war from a partisan prism. Acting in the national interest means rallying all Nigerians, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic background, to support the war.”
”They (military) have so degraded the capability of Boko Haram that the terrorists can no longer carry out any spectacular attacks. Remember, gentlemen, that at the height of the war, Boko Haram controlled 20 of the 27 local governments in Borno.
”I can hear you saying to yourself: But the terrorists are still carrying out suicide bombings and killing people. My response to that is that such is the nature of insurgency anywhere. Unlike a war between two armies, an insurgency never ends with an armistice. Even in countries like Colombia where insurgency was supposed to have ended decades ago, attacks still happen,” he said.
“The insurgents are hungry, they are sick and they are desperate and will clutch at any straw,” he said. “Don’t let us prop them up with our reports.”
He predicted that in the days ahead, they will release propaganda videos through their usual channels,warning that such publicity materials must not be given any play because it is only a hoax.
The Minister said with the military having largely met the deadline, what is missing in the war against terrorism is the ‘civilian aspect’.
However, observers of the government have however, expressed skepticism at the reported success of the army against the terrorists, citing that whenever the army claims to have crippled the terrorists, they rebuild and carry out more bomb attacks.
They accused the government of exaggerating its victory over Boko Haram.