Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is hopeful the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida sanctions committee will place sanctions on militant group Boko Haram at its planned Thursday meeting, according to Abdullahi Jalo, spokesman for the PDP.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s government petitioned the UN body to blacklist the Islamist extremists following the recent abduction of over 200 school girls as well as the surge in violence perpetrated by Boko Haram.
“For the Security Council to sit down and discuss this [group] as a terrorist organization is really a welcome development,” said Jalo. “We are sure the world will definitely support the stance of [the] Nigerian government to show to the world that the government of the PDP is all out to stem out deadly section of the people who have infiltrated into society, killing people without any reason.”
Nigerian officials are optimistic that there will not be objections raised by any of the 15-member council committee when it comes to imposing sanctions on the militant group.
Critics say the government has not done enough to combat the Boko Haram insurgency for the last five years in spite of repeated warnings about the danger the group poses to the country’s peace and stability.
They also said the administration has failed its core mandate, which they argue is to protect the population from harm. They contend that the government only jumped into action following global pressure after the militants abducted over 200 school girls and threatened to sell them into slavery, which attracted international outrage.
Jalo disagreed, saying opponents of the government want to use the country’s tragedy to score cheap political points in the run up to the elections next year.
“There is no doubt that the president has said that the army [was] ill-equipped for some time,” said Jalo. “How does the PDP take up arms to go and kill my followers? That is not possible. It is propaganda against the PDP. This is what our detractors have put in the mind of the [people].”
He says the government is committed to protecting Nigerians and ending the Boko Haram insurgency in spite of the upsurge in violence.
Jalo says with the support from the international community including experts from the United States, financiers of the militants would be exposed and punished for the crimes the militants have been committing.”
“The American government and other developed [countries] have now come in not only to provide logistics as to how this Boko Haram could be stemmed out from the society, [but] they are equally going to pick out who are their financiers because from the reports available, this group has a lot of money,” said Jalo.
He says demands by Boko Haram to negotiate terms for the release of the abducted school girls are an indication that the government is putting pressure on the militants.