President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday reiterated his administration’s stance that the Boko Haram terror group has been defeated.
The president spoke in his New Year broadcast to Nigerians.
“We have since beaten Boko Haram,” he said.
The president’s statement appears a continuation of his controversial declaration in December 2015 that the insurgent group has been “technically defeated”. Since Mr. Buhari made the statement, hundreds of Nigerians have been killed in suicide attacks, and coordinated attacks on communities in the North-east region.
On Monday, the president, however, said he was aware there were still “isolated” attacks by the terror group.
“Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America,” he said.
Despite the president’s claims, however, governors in the country recently approved the withdrawal of $1 billion to fight Boko Haram.
The federal government later explained that the money was meant to not only fight the terror group, but also address other security concerns across the country.
That planned expenditure has however been criticised, including by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti who questioned how such money would be used to fight a ‘defeated’ group.
On Monday, Mr Buhari said that despite the security challenges being experienced across the country, the law enforcement agencies are working round the clock to secure lives and properties in line with his government campaign promises.
“Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety.
“Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.
“With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies. Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.
“With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging responsible leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.
“I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas,” he said.