News / Africa

    Nigeria's Leader Orders Full-Scale Assault on Boko Haram

    Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman, speaks during a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria, May 28, 2014.
    Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman, speaks during a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria, May 28, 2014.
    VOA News
    Nigeria's president said on Thursday he had ordered “a full-scale operation” against Boko Haram Islamist militants.

    Speaking on Nigeria's Democracy Day, Goodluck Jonathan said he had authorized security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that Boko Haram, which operates in the country's northeast, is defeated.
     
    “I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism,” Jonathan said in a TV speech.
     
    It was not immediately clear what such an offensive could entail given that the northeast of the country has been under a state of emergency and a full scale military operation for a year. Nigerian forces are also hugely overstretched.

    He also vowed on Thursday to “do everything possible to bring our daughters home,” referring to the mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls, and said Boko Haram, the Islamic extremists responsible, threaten the country's democratic gains.
     
    "It is a sad fact that as I address you today, all the gains of the past 15 years of democratic governance in our country are threatened by the presence of international terrorism on our shores,” Jonathan said in a speech marking Nigeria's transformation from decades of military dictatorship.

    “I assure you ... that these thugs will be driven away. It will not happen overnight, but we will spare no effort to achieve this goal,” he said.

    No details on military efforts
     
    Jonathan gave no details of what is being done to rescue the girls who the military claimed this week it has located. But the military chief said he fears using force to rescue them could instead get them killed.
     
    On April 14 Boko Haram militants surrounded a secondary school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok and took away 276 girls who had been taking exams in trucks, according to official figures from an audit this week.
     
    Nigeria's Borno state, which is at epicenter of the insurgency, said on Wednesday a total of 57 of the kidnapped girls had escaped. But 219 others were still missing and assumed held by the militants, who say they are fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria and have killed thousands over the years.
     
    “With the support of Nigerians, our neighbors and the international community, we will reinforce our defense, free our girls and rid Nigeria of terrorists,” Jonathan said.
     
    “I share the deep pain and anxiety of their parents,” he added.
     
    The mass abduction thrust the Islamist insurgency into the international spotlight like never before, with a #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign drawing support from U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and others.
     
    "Extremist foreign elements"

    Capitalizing on this, Jonathan has sought to paint Boko Haram as part of a broader global jihadist movement being directed from abroad, the first time he has taken this line.
     
    “Extremist foreign elements, collaborating with some of our misguided citizens,” was one phrase he used to describe them.
     
    “What we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a manifestation of the same warped and ferocious world view that brought down the Twin Towers in New York (and) killed innocent persons in Boston,” Jonathan said, referring, respectively, to the September 11, 2001 attacks and the April 2013 marathon bombing.
     
    Scores have been killed in Nigerian bombings in the past month, including two bombings in the capital Abuja.
     
    Chief of Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said on Tuesday the military knew where the abducted girls were but ruled out a rescue by force for fear of endangering them. The military was criticized for its slow response to the crisis, but Jonathan has accepted international help.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Agboga Endurance from: Edo
    June 09, 2014 2:42 PM
    A leader can never be remv wit force,bcause it takes d grace of God to become leader,Nigerians knows what they r doing,bt oh God show mercy

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    May 29, 2014 1:01 PM
    15yrs of democracy? Hmn…, if this is what you call democracy, when will Nigeria be free? In the period we between 1960 and 1999, Nigeria had a single divide – the democrats in uniform and the rest of us. Today in the name of democracy, the country is splintered into a multiplicity of groups still obeying the broad line of the single divide: the super-rich politicians whose lifestyle is causing rows and uproar in the country and the rest of us. Unfortunately the only common ground where these two find a convergence is corruption giving birth to religious bigotry and fanatics rising in arms against us, no power, no job, Niger Delta fracas, MEND, MASSOB, boko haram. What we have earned is a democracy that opened up the country to all sorts of evil.

    Nigeria’s is a failed judicial system where a political office holders and their cronies cannot lose a case in a law court simply because politicians and their cronies are above the law in the country. Which is why the judiciary can try a case with over 130 count charges and is unable to render a conviction, when the same case is tried outside the shores of Nigeria with only 3 count charges, there is a conviction on all three. Is this what you call democracy? Where the high and mighty can buy “justice” with just a scribbling on the back of a complementary/business card? Is this the meaning of dividend of democracy?

    Some states are operating sharia within the Nigerian constitution and there are no constitutional judicial jurisdiction to void it until it has given rise to Islamic terrorism. No, this is not democracy. After all those boys in uniform who were in charge of everything a few years after independence were also Nigerians, and if democracy means govt. of the people for the people by the people, then Nigeria has been in democracy since independence. Unless the meaning has changed, then Nigeria should change also. Otherwise what obtains now is not different from what obtained in those days. For then I was freer than I am today in terms of purchasing power, education for the children, job for the citizens due to vibrant and functional industries, and value added power generation and distribution in the country.

    by: emeka from: lagos
    May 29, 2014 1:00 PM
    I don't wana insult ma president but He caused all this. He now accepted international help smh

    by: joseph from: benue
    May 29, 2014 8:57 AM
    boko haram and their sponsor's are evil
    In Response

    by: ali hassan from: tanzania
    May 30, 2014 12:49 PM
    Nigerians becareful who want to help you,remember you have vast oil and minerals and one somewhere is busy cooking this up by finacing the boko haram to their entry advantage.

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