Jonathan attacks “clueless” emergency rule critics; praises youth fighting Boko Haram

Boko Haram members

The president said those reportedly fleeing to Niger are not Nigerians.

Dozens of youth in northeast states, seeking out and handing over Boko Haram insurgents to soldiers, are “new national heroes” whose collaboration with the military, enforcing emergency rule in the area, has proven critics of the operation “clueless”, President Goodluck Jonathan said Sunday.

Mr. Jonathan denied mostly foreign media reports that thousands of Nigerians were fleeing to Niger, to escape harsh tactics by soldiers sent into Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states under the emergency rule he declared a month ago.

“The bulk” of those displaced to neighbouring Niger, are nationals of that country who are simply retuning home, the president claimed in a statement by his spokesperson, Doyin Okupe, on Sunday.

“Also contrary to a report in some media that 8,000 Nigerians were fleeing to Niger Republic as a result of the emergency rule, the National Emergency Management Agency and the Borno State government have confirmed that only 126 Nigerians have so far been displaced by the operations and that the bulk of the refugees referred to in the report were Nigeriens returning to Niger,” the statement said.

The president said his decision to declare state of emergency in the three states was “timely, effective and strategically unassailable” as it was clear the war on extremist fighters responsible for thousands of deaths, was being won.

That success, to a large extent, was possible with the cooperation of residents who have reportedly taken upon themselves to hunt insurgents and turn them over to security offices, he added.

Dozens of youth now bandy together as vigilante groups, armed with sticks, iron bars, and axes, as they go about searching for Boko Haram members. Many of their quarries, surrendered to the soldiers, are reportedly summarily executed.

During a recent revenge mission, the insurgents concealed arms in a coffin to evade military checkpoints, before launching an attack on some members of the vigilante. The fighting left more than a dozen people dead, reports say.

In his first reaction to the development, Mr. Jonathan praised the bravery of the youth, calling them “heroes”.

“Without doubt, these youths are the new national heroes who have risen up to the occasion in an unprecedented patriotic fashion to work together with their government by going after their tormentors. This is heart-warming and clearly indicative of an awakened consciousness of civic responsibility,” the president said.

He said a prove to the restoration of normalcy in the affected areas is the reopening of markets, schools, and that sacked communities are being re-inhabited while commercial activities in major towns in the affected states are approaching pre-insurgency period.

The president launched attack on critics who condemned the emergency declaration and his recent proscription of Boko Haram and Ansaru.

“The results have proven that the opposition political leaders who opposed the decision on the emergency rule as well as the proscription of terrorist groups are actually clueless and unfortunately blinded by their political pursuits,” the statement said.


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  • Ofuruye Ofurukanme

    All these journalism retards. Okupe is not and has never been a spokesperson to President Jonathan.
    Rather unfortunate that Premium Times doesn’t get it right all the time. Sometimes he is even addressed as an adviser.
    Rather unfortunate, that even the editors dont know appointment heirachies in the Nigerian political scene.
    Probably he bribes the reporters to do it because it has been so often despite seeing him on television, correcting the impression.
    God forbid

    • GISKIYA

      Billyonaire: Who Owns Hitech ? Tinubu
      Who Owns AlphaBeta ? Tinubu
      Who Owns Oriental Hotel ? Tinubu
      Who owns LCC ? Tinubu
      Who owns Nations News Paper ? Tinubu
      Who owns Nations Airline ? Tinubu
      Who controls all LGAs in Lagos ? Tinubu
      Who controls Lagos state House of Assembly ? Tinubu
      Who is Fashola’s Godfather ? Tinubu
      Who ‘owns’ ACN ? Tinubu
      Where is Tinubu’s source of income for above acquisitions ? Lagos treasury and all ACN States.
      All Hail Emperor Tinubu, the Lion of Bourdillon and the King of Fraud.

      • omo osun

        THE controversy surrounding the paternity of the former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was renewed on Monday as members of the Tinubu family in Lagos confirmed that he had no genealogical relationship with the family.

        The family, in a book entitled, “Onijumu Wura; the Tinubu dynasty of Kakawa Street, ” launched in Lagos, said the former governor was just an acquaintance of the family.

        Senator Tinubu had earlier traced his family background to the popular Tinubu family of Lagos, but some critics debunked this claim, insisting that he is from Iragbiji in Osun State.

        A section of the Tinubu family, apparently worried by the controversy this had generated in the state, decided to write the book that chronicled the descendants of the family which excluded Senator Tinubu.

        The author of the book, Mr. Rafiu Babatunde Tinubu, who is also a former Head of Service in the state (Until he fell out with Tinubu’s government! – Auspicious), insisted that “anybody that bears the name must have biological relationship with the cleric, the late Alfa Muhammed Bugara Tinubu.”

    • dont touch me

      THE controversy surrounding the paternity of the former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was renewed on Monday as members of the Tinubu family in Lagos confirmed that he had no genealogical relationship with the family.

      The family, in a book entitled, “Onijumu Wura; the Tinubu dynasty of Kakawa Street, ” launched in Lagos, said the former governor was just an acquaintance of the family.

      Senator Tinubu had earlier traced his family background to the popular Tinubu family of Lagos, but some critics debunked this claim, insisting that he is from Iragbiji in Osun State.

      A section of the Tinubu family, apparently worried by the controversy this had generated in the state, decided to write the book that chronicled the descendants of the family which excluded Senator Tinubu.

      The author of the book, Mr. Rafiu Babatunde Tinubu, who is also a former Head of Service in the state (Until he fell out with Tinubu’s government! – Auspicious), insisted that “anybody that bears the name must have biological relationship with the cleric, the late Alfa Muhammed Bugara Tinubu.”

      • dejavu433

        tinubu was adopted,so 4get d issue of trace

  • borno

    Habab we are no kids. We know its tinubu who has been manufacturing these fake stories for APC-their power lies on the web not at the grass root level. Those youths who chased boko haram out are the real heroes –tinubu has never remembered the youths who died for June 12-thanks for sparing a thought for them

    • Es3

      Premium Times was published online from Sahara Reporters in an attempt to deceive Nigerians on Tinubu’s reckless and evil agenda after the later was discovered to be running a propaganda machine for Tinubu for payment and other reasons!!!

  • Afam

    Haba premium times you guys can do better than self serving journalism,when did GEJ replaced Abati with Okupe as his spokesperson ? Am still asking for one positive news you guys reported on how Nigeria has met with MDGs 1…you guys was very fast to remove it from your site because your pay masters did not want it….The evil that men do with journalism practice today will live with you people soon..