Despite the extremist Boko Haram sect revving up its deadly attacks on communities around the troubled North-East region, and the Federal Government’s seeming helplessness in stemming the attacks, the National Council of State said Tuesday it was satisfied with the government’s effort in checking the insurgency in the country.
The Council, which advises the federal executive on policy making, has as members President Goodluck Jonathan (Chairman); Vice President Namadi Sambo (Deputy Chairman); all former Presidents of the Federation and all former Heads of the Government of the Federation; all former Chief Justices of Nigeria; the President of the Senate; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; all the Governors of the states of the Federation; and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
At the end of its meeting Tuesday, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, who spoke on behalf of the Council, told journalists the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the Federal Government on its handling of the insurgency.
He said the council was briefed by the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, on the current war on insurgency and that explanations were given on the issue of the abducted Chibok girls.
“A major issue discussed today was the issue of the security of the nation,” Mr. Akpabio said. “We received a report from the National Security Adviser on the security of the nation. He briefed council on the current war on insurgency and explanations were given on issue of Chibok girls.
“Council was satisfied that the Defence ministry and all the agencies have taken the right steps and the President is on course and we are very hopeful that sooner or later Nigerians will hear good news.
“But we urge Nigerians to be patient, that the issues of terrorism are not issues that could be finished within a day or two.’’
According to Mr. Akpabio, the council commended the President and security agencies for a job well done so far and urged them to add more valve to ensure that lives and property are protected.
The governor further stated that President Jonathan would do everything possible to ensure the release of the Chibok girls.
The Council gave a thumb up to the President and his security chiefs just as the Boko Haram sect was on rampage, killing, maiming and sacking towns and villages.
Nigeria has so far lost a total of 16 local government areas to the sect: nine in Borno state, two in Yobe and five in Adamawa states. The total landmass occupied is believed to be an equivalent of three states of the federation.
Last week, the sect overwhelmed Nigerian security agencies and overran Mubi, Adamawa second largest town and the home town of the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, and planted its flag there.
The sect also detonated bombs in Gombe and Yobe and attacked police stations. At least 30 people were killed in the Monday bomb attack in Potiskum, Yobe state, alone.
The Federal Government has come under fierce criticism over its handling of the insurgency, with a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, saying the insurgency had remained largely protracted due to the crisis of leadership in the country.
But the Council of State, according to Mr. Akpabio, gave a different verdict at its meeting Tuesday, saying the government had done well in handling the insurgency.
Former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo as well as former President Shehu Shagari and Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Ernest Shonekan, were at the meeting.
Governors present at the meeting include Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Theodore Orji (Abia), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Idris Wada (Kogi), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo).
Also present were Senate President, Senator David Mark, Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed and National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.
Former Chief Justices of Nigeria (CJN), Mohammed Lawal Uwais and Idris Legbo Kitigi were at the meeting.
Vice President Namadi Sambo and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim and Chief of Staff to the President, Jones Arogbofa also attended.