Boko Haram may overrun Nigeria, says Atiku




By Bode Olagoke
Abuja

Former Vice President and one of the aspirants seeking the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, has said that if nothing drastic was done the whole of Nigeria might be taken over by Boko Haram as the case “is presently in the north-eastern part of the country.”
He alleged that the inability of the government to end the crisis was a ploy to weaken some parts of the country ahead of next year’s general elections
Atiku, who led five other serving Senators from the region to a press conference yesterday in Abuja, lamented the current sorry state of residents of Mubi town, which has been taken over by the terrorists, saying, “The inhabitants of Mubi, together with those who went there for safety, find themselves at the mercy of this terrorist group.”

Atiku argued: “Things should never have got to this stage.  Thousands of Nigerians have had to flee their homes.  Their houses and farms have been destroyed.  They do not know where to go or how to restart their lives. That is the degree to which we have come in this country. I say this with reluctance and with shame.
“The situation in which we find ourselves today is grave.  Much of Borno and the north of Adamawa and Yobe states is already at the mercy of the terrorists.  It started a few months ago with Bama, which is nearly 400 kilometres from Yola, capital of Adamawa state.”

According to him, the militant sect had taken over two local government areas in Yobe, five local government areas in Adamawa and nine local government areas in Borno.
While demanding explanations from the Jonathan government, Atiku added that ever since Boko Haram activities began in the last five years, no lost territory has been recaptured by the military. This, he said, showed the unseriousness of the government.

While explaining what he would do if he was in government, he said: “I have said it before that if I am in government I would have recruited the civilian JTF, train them for three months and use them to flush out the terrorists. Two or three days later, the Defence Headquarters said they were going to hire them and train them as soldiers. Did it require me, a civilian, to tell the Defence Headquarters what to do? You know that if you are fighting in a terrain that you don’t know very well you need local support. Why not make use of the local support? Most of the boys over-running the places are from the same area.

“Those who come from Mubi tell me that these boys were part of them and were recruited by Boko Haram; so, why can’t the military not do the same? Why will you bring somebody from Bayelsa to come and fight a war in Adamawa or Borno state when he has never seen a mountain in Bayelsa?
“Honestly, I don’t know what informed decisions taken, but I don’t think that the approach to dealing with this situation is the right one. One, the response is very poor; secondly, they don’t make use of the local people to deal with the situation and, thirdly, people have alleged that the armed forces are poorly equipped. But five years is more than enough to equip the entire military.”
The senators that accompanied Atiku at the conference were Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe), Mohammed Jubrilla (Adamawa), Aisha Alhasan (Taraba) and Ahmed Zanna (Borno).

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