Northern Governors not doing enough to stop Boko Haram – Nigerian Government


“The federal government is a fire fighter; it does not own any constituency in the 19 Northern states.”

Following the recent bomb blasts in some states across Northern Nigeria, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has said the governors of the 19 northern states, are not doing enough to win the war against terror.

Mr. Maku also said grandstanding and altercations some of the governors were having with the federal government were creating grounds for terrorists to operate. He added that the governors needed to go back to the basis.

The minister was speaking while briefing journalists after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said the northern governors must do more than criticise the federal government’s decision to extend the current state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe; by doing everything necessary to re-organise its social structure, including grassroots mobilization and information gathering.
“We need the kind of work that will enable every preacher, every religious leader, to speak to their followers to be able to sensitize people to give support to what is going on (anti-terror efforts).

“Every state in the North needs to go back to the basis, which means that today to deal with terror every of the 19 Northern states must reorganise their people from the smallest unit of the smallest village to hamlet, to wards, to towns, to districts,” he said.

Mr. Maku said “there must be a proper organisation of communities for proper information about movement of people and activities that could lead to destruction of lives and property.”

“The federal government is a fire fighter; it does not own any constituency in the 19 Northern states.

“The FG only sends soldiers and policemen when there is fire on the roof to put out that fire. But the real ground where terrorist is operating is at the local level, at the unit level, at the state level. And until we have every state government determined, not rhetorically but practically, to sit back and organise their people and to take proactive measures in terms of information gathering, in terms of preparing people to be able to report, to confront, to organise themselves; we will not be able to defeat terror,” he said.

The minister said if the Boko Haram terrorists are to be defeated, every community in Northern Nigeria must be prepared by the state governments to attune their minds with their neighbours, communities, town unions, religious organisations, and so on.

“We need to be able to reorganise ourselves to prepare for the new challenges we face,” the minister said. “We have not seen this preparation going on and we need it.”

Mr. Maku said terrorism was a psychological war, which thrives on wrong ideology, and not conventional wisdom. He said the governors must use mass mobilization methods to track down their movement and pass relevant information to security agencies for a more effective military operation

“It is not the weaknesses of the armed forces, it is the same way the Americans are getting frustrated in Afghanistan.
“If the terrorists were to stand against the Nigerian armed forces, they will not last 30 minutes and will be completely destroyed” he said.

The minister said despite the emergency rule in the three most affected states, President Goodluck Jonathan left the political structures there in place to assist the security agencies in mobilizing people at the grassroots to create the necessary support to defeat the terrorists.

He said such synergy has not been witnessed despite the persistent attacks on the communities.

“We have not seen this preparation going on and we need it. And that is why it is so sad that in spite of terror operating for this period of time there are still lapses like we saw in Chibok. It should never have occurred at all, there was no reason for it to occur, but we are now confronted with the ugly situation that has developed.

“If we are organizing our people, I believe we would have defeated terror by now. You need the cooperation of every little unit to expose these people who are terrorizing the people.

“The entire north must prepare its traditional rulers, each village head, each religious leader, and the people to create the necessary synergy and mobilize the people against Boko Haram.

“We need to speak with one voice against terrorism. But the right political mobilization must be put in place and I think that this is what the media should support.

“When people tell you that because we have sent troops we can win the war, it is not true. It is a war between a few ideologically programmed individuals. You need the right networking. We do not have to wait a long time if we do what we are supposed to do and without this cooperation, these people may continue to waste more blood.”

The minister also warned against sensationalizing media reports on the activities of Boko Haram stating that “terrorists currently cherish such publicity more than the politician standing for election in 2015.”

“If we destroy our armed forces, we do not have alternatives. These are the people being killed daily and they are doing a lot for this country. These are people whose children are being turned into orphans.

“This is a guerrilla warfare and we believe that Nigerians can help to win it if we prepare ourselves and organise ourselves to defeat terrorism by mobilizing our people to give information about the terrorists,” he said.

Mr. Maku condemned what he described as ‘grandstanding’ by politicians who are trying to score cheap political points by airing opinions that do not help the war against terror.

“We need greater unity to be able to break into what is going on and defeat it, and that is why the grandstanding and politicking that is associated with the fight against terror is increasing the tempo of the activities of terrorists.

“The variety of opinion amongst the political class feeds into the confidence of terror groups because their objective is to divide public opinion and continuously penetrate the Nigerian society and destroy it. And so we continue to plead that all of us in the politics of this country we need to think again to understand that the challenge we face is not to the advantage of anybody, we need to understand that politics aside we need to save our country first.

“It is the Nigerian efforts that can bring this terror to an end. We need every religious leader to be able to speak to their people,” he said.

Mr. Maku had earlier noted that the FEC took time to make a thorough assessment of the latest bomb attacks in Jos, Kano and Borno states; describing them as “senseless”.

He said FEC supported efforts by President Jonathan to stem terrorism including the setting up of a joint centre for intelligence sharing between coalition of countries in West and Central Africa.


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  • arewethishopeless

    More and more and more excuses …. By making such a press conference to lay more blame on the governors, are you not grandstanding … ?

    Empty pot making loud …..

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      The advice by FG is very welcomed by any sincere human being. Northern Nigerians must reclaim their towns and villages from these criminals irrespective of their sponsors. some pseudo elites in the north who thinks there is a political milestone to gain by frustrating the efforts of Nigerian army must rethink for the safety of innocent civilians in the north. No political ambition is worth the life of innocent. The hostile governors can mock the FG all it want but the people that die daily are their constituents, first and foremost. But we know that common sense is not common.

      • Sadiq Garba

        Meaning that the Federal Government has admitted its failure to secure the people.

    • Adeyi

      Ride on brother! Thumbs up!

  • thetwin

    Hmmmm……..Mr. Maku, pls note if you want the people to cooperate then the government must guarantee their safety by adequately protecting informants, adequately addressing and punishing any act of human rights abuses by our security forces. I personally don’t believe the fire brigade thing. The centre controls the army, police and all other security outfits who are supposed to be proactive. Firebl brigade approach is reactionary.

  • clairvoyance

    Who declared a state of Emergency in Adamawa, Yobe n Borno state. Can the FG stop this buck passing for once and live up to it’s responsibilities. Remember the chibok incidence were 300 was kidnap, Amnesty international confirmed and stood by their word that the Nigeerian military had 4hr notice of the impeding attack but did nothing to prevent it. So are the governors going to be blamed for not taking proactive measures against this insurgency who controls the security apparatus of the Country if not the clueless one.

  • Ajabkoko

    Penny wise pound foolish!
    When there is fire on the mountain the Governors called for rescue and quenching of the burning fire but the FG is trying to say there are on the top of the situation. Now the fire is fast approaching every corner in the North East and Elsewhere and the FG is pushing its responsibility to those who do not have the power and the Authority to do so. For God’s sake, is Nigeria a federal republic? If it is so then States do not have control over the security apparatus in ther various states and as such it is difficult to exercise their powers as Governors when it comes to controlling the police and other security agencies.
    Mr Labaran Maku knows that and the other Officials know that. And when one is not in control of security Agencies, it is difficult to solve security problem in your consitutiency/ state

  • Adeyi

    Mr. Minister, in the area of sensitisation, can you please highlight the efforts of the Information Ministry (besides protecting the presidency and PDP-led administration; the role of the Fed Radio Corp of Nigeria; the Voice of Nigeria ((VON), the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the largest TV network in Africa, NTA (or have the stations been bombed all across the North?). If so, where have the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) been? Have the stations also been bombed our of existence in the localities of the entire Northern region? We are supposed to have police posts even in villages, which should enable the Force to gather information as you desire of the state govts. Where are the intelligence agencies of the DSS (SSS), NIA, DMI, DIA etc? Are they moribund or Gov Shettima and co have failed to despatch them on field duties? With all these agencies you are pointing fingers at the state and local authorities? Please, look at the log in the eye of the FG, nay the president’s, before pointing at the eye of the states. Did Mr. President take cognisance of the presence of the state govts and local authorities when he was grandstanding early last year that BH would be eliminated within 3 months. He has refused to even chew his words, rather he is flexing muscle afresh. You were also once a supervising minister for defence. Did you consult regularly with Gov. Shettima? I doubt it! If not, you would have discerned the kind of man he is. Anyway, Mr. Maku, you are just doing your job as you have always known best. I don’t blame you guys, I blame Mr. President who is always looking over his shoulder for phantom ‘destroyers’ of his administration, and cannot even inspire the nation into greatness, nor even recall the speech made by Gen. Murtala about 38 years ago at the OAU Summit and uphold the tenets. Please, you guys should just do and go to your villages and enjoy your loot. That is if you can dare stay out of Abuja. Its so pathetic that we don’t have leaders but dealers.

  • gulak

    The people of the north are doing there best, infact better than the FG. We here of the civilian jtf who are untrained and unarmed civilians fighting insurgents, even rescuing giwa barracks when attacked by BH. Also the people of kala-balge in borno killing over 200 members of BH with sticks and machetes, the people madagali killed over 70 BH. Even parents of chibok and vigilantes risked in patroling sambisa forest in search of abducted girls. The governor of borno against security odds always visit, sympathize, assist and encourage victims of BH attacks. What has the FG done all this while? how long has it been known that BH has been camped in sambisa even before the abduction? How can someone else claim to love you more than you love yourself even when u aren’t insane?

  • gringory99

    These unrepentant, ill-focused, bad-brought up, inept and corrupt jingoist, that takes all sort of mind shadowing substances, beside locally brewed alcohol, and start coughing contaminated poisons, which of sure dangerous to their safety before the safety of their, perceived break-away subordinate and now opposition and enemies. Now confess before the generality of the people of nigeria that you failed to act, willingly and unwillingly, abated and supported our common enemy to kill us, burn us, bomb us, shoot us, kidnap our elderly and young girls. We know that you are out of fear to publicly break up the entity called NIGERIA, and you are applying it from the under cover, in what I referred to, as our common enemies. These are as follows, 1 NIGER DELTA MILITANTS WHOM YOU COMPLIMENT YOUR AGENDA WITH NO HIDING SOMETIMES AND IN HIDING SOMETIMES, BOKO HARAM, IN THE NORTH, KIDNAPPERS, ARMED ROBERS, BABY FACTORIES A LOT MORE OTHER CRIMES. AND I AM REFERING EXPLICITLY TO GOODLICK EBELE JONATHAN, ALL NIGER DELTA BUNCH OF DISGRUNTLED ELEMENTS BOTH CONVICT AND CONDEMNED CRIMINAL, FOR YOUR GOOD BEFORE THE GENERALITY OF PEOPLE CALLED NIGERIANS REVOLTS AND TEACHES YOU A LESSON SIMILAR TO WHAT OJUKWU AND HIS CAPTAINS SUFFERED IN THE HANDS OF NIGERIANS THOSE WHO ACCOMPLISHED THE TASK OF ONE NIGERIA THEN, ARE STILL THERE, THE ONES DIED BEQUETHED THE LOGIC OF UNITY TO THEIR POSTERITY, AND THE POSTERITY WERE ALWAYS EVER READY TO ACT, AND THE HEROES WHO ARE ALIVE TODAY AND FOUGHT THEN TO PUT NIGERIA ONE . BOTH FROM ALL COLORATION, OF NIGERIA THE WILL GUIDE US TO TO SHOW YOU THA THE LABOUR OF OUR HEROES PAST WILL BE IN VAIN, TO SERVE WITH HEART AND MIND ONE NATION BOUND IN FREEDOM PEACE AND UNITY. COMPATRIOT NIGERIA CALL SO OBEY.

  • Bala R

    Middle Belt.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    The nineteen Northern state governors does not have control over their respective state police commissioners or SSS or the army,navy or air-force hence,how can any sane Nigerian indict the Northern state governors for not doing enough to maintain security in their respective states?
    Only a moron and clueless senseless Nigerian would apportion blame on those state governors instead of the incapable,incompetent and intelligence-lacking president Ebele Jonathan.