The federal government has provided some insights into the recent setbacks experienced by the troops in the insurgency fight in the North east.
Specifically, it blamed the development on the routing of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq State fighters, otherwise called ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, and the consequent shift of focus by the group to Nigeria.
But the government insisted that the gallant troops were on top of their games, as they keep doing their best in keeping the nation secured under the prevailing circumstance.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the clarifications while responding to reporters’ questions on reasons Governor Kashim Shettima wept at the Villa on Monday.
Leading a delegation of Borno stakeholders to the State House, Abuja, Governor Shettima lamented the travails of his people since the insurgency broke out in 2008, and consequently broke down in tears.
Although the military has not owned up, the insurgents are presently holding some towns, including Baga, Doro-Baga, Kross Kauwa, and Kukawa among others.
And in a determined bid to reclaim the seized towns, the troops on Sunday, crushed about100 insurgents in Goniri, Yobe state, as well as Kross Kauwa, Monguno, and Damasak in the neighbouring Borno state.
Residents of the affected towns, particularly the youth and other able bodied men and women, have fled the towns leaving behind the aged, women and children.
Explaining the situation at a media parley yesterday, the minister said: “It’s important to note that the governor said despite some setbacks, the state retains confidence in the leadership of President Buhari and his ability to end the insurgency.
“There is no doubt that the fight has recorded some setbacks in recent times, but our gallant troops are up to the task and are doing their best to keep the nation secure. The setbacks are not unconnected with the routing of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the focus of the terrorists’ attention on the insurgency in Nigeria.
“This, again, attests to the global nature of terrorism and the need for all nations to come together in fighting this scourge. The President has again rallied regional cooperation in order to forge a united front against the terrorists, and his efforts are paying off.”
On Operation Python Dance
Speaking on ‘Operation Python Dance,’ the minister said it was part of the Nigerian Army’s plan to ensure a hitch-free poll next month, and slammed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for criticising the initiative.
“The Nigerian Army has launched Operation Python Dance as part of efforts to ensure security for the 2019 elections. Again, the opposition has kicked. The opposition should understand it cannot eat its cake and have it. They have been alleging a nationwide state of insecurity ahead of the polls. If the security agencies decide to take a pre-emptive measure to ensure security before the elections, why should that raise any eyebrow?
“The truth is that the PDP, in its time, used the security agencies to rig elections after elections. It is therefore not a surprise that they are afraid that the APC might do the same. We do not rig elections and we do not use security agencies to rig elections. We are APC, not PDP.
“Yesterday, President Buhari addressed this issue when he said, and I quote: ‘If there is one legacy I want to leave, it is the enthronement of democracy as a system of government. And for democracy to be enthroned, elections must be free and fair’. That means citizens have a right to vote for candidates of their choice without intimidation in any form. I have warned INEC and security agencies to that effect.”