The Nigerian military will reclaim the expansive Sambisa forest reserve which has become a notorious Boko Haram stronghold, before President Goodluck Jonathan hands over power in less than two months, National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki said Tuesday.
Mr. Jonathan will on May 29 surrender power after losing the March 28 presidential election to Muhammadu Buhari.
After widespread criticisms over its inability to contain Boko Haram, the Nigerian military in the last few months has retaken several territories occupied by the group, dislodging the militants from key towns like Baga, Bama and Gwoza.
Mr. Dasuki, speaking to PRNigeria, a media organisation that distributes press statements of Nigeria’s security agencies, said Sambisa forest, the most notable territory still controlled by Boko Haram, would have since been liberated but for the unfavourable weather condition prevailing in the area. He said the terrain has been studied and troops to be deployed were ready.
“Right now, all Boko Haram camps, except Sambisa Forest have been destroyed,” Mr. Dasuki said.
“Every movement of the terrorists is being monitored and every necessary detail is being taken care of to rid the country of the last bastion of terrorists’ infestation,” he said.
One year after over 200 girls were kidnaped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, Borno State, Mr. Dasuki said the federal government was making effort to ensure that the girls are rescued from insurgents.
He spoke about the concern of Nigeria’s government and that of every Nigerian citizen over the girls’ welfare. Mr. Dasuki urged Nigerians to be patient as the military completes the routing of terrorists.
He commended Mr. Jonathan over the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections.
“President Jonathan had already given his words to all the security and service chiefs before the election that he would abide by the decision of Nigerians. At the meeting, he also told them to perform their duties professionally during the polls.
“While we anticipated that he would congratulate his opponent if the result is announced in favour of opposition candidate, he gratuitously without prompting of anyone conceded defeat to the surprise of all.
“By that singular gesture he had saved the security agencies and the nation of unnecessary tension and stress in maintaining law and order and curtailing excesses of likely protesters,” he said.