FG Denies Use of Helicopter to Supply Weapons to Boko Haram
The Federal Government says it is not true that Boko Haram insurgents are ferried in by helicopters along with their weapons likely from foreign lands to launch their attacks.
The Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, said this yesterday while featuring on Channels Television Sunrise Daily Programme.
Obanikoro explained that the service chiefs ruled out such a possibility when they were recently queried over the matter.
“We shouldn’t reduce this (security matter) to beer parlour talk. During a meeting with the service chiefs, I asked whether that is possible and they said it is not. So, I want to believe it is not possible”, the minister said.
A senator from Katsina State, Abu Ibrahim, had on March 20 told the Senate that attackers of some of the affected places were not local people but were air-dropped from somewhere else along with their supplies.
The lawmaker had also said there were reports from local people that the bandits get supplies from helicopters which the locals said they saw landing in thick forests.
Speaking further this morning, Obanikoro declared that Nigeria cannot go into war with Cameroon over terrorist attacks.
He was answering a question on what the Federal Government would do if it does not get the necessary support from Cameroon to combat terrorism and cross-border criminality.
According to the minister, Nigeria can only continue to engage the neighbouring country to put pressure on it.
“We cannot go into war with Cameroon. We have to continually engage them and internalise with them to put pressure on them”, he said.
It would be recalled that at the recent global security summit in Abuja recently, President Goodluck Jonathan had, in a veiled reference to Cameroon, said, “We must not allow our countries to become safe havens for terrorists; we must cooperate maximally beyond political boundaries and adopt protocols that allow other countries to pursue terrorists to their safe havens in other nations. While we can’t redefine our borders, we can redefine our collective approach in fighting trans-boundary insurgencies.
“Our architecture must recognise the fact that trans-border criminals don’t respect boundaries while law enforcement agencies are compelled to respect our international boundaries. There must be compromise on this if we must wipe out criminality and trans-border crimes. While we respect our national boundaries, terrorists move in and out of our borders, it’s now time that we should agree as African leaders that an act of terror against one nation is an act of terror against all nations.”
The minister said Nigeria has what it takes to end terrorism, adding that “I’m sure we’ll end it because there is nowhere in the world evil prevails over good”.
He charged Nigerians, especially the local communities, to give the security agencies the necessary support “because security is not about security agencies alone”.
He also described the allegation of mismanagement of security funds as the handiwork of the opposition whom he accused of playing politics with the lives of Nigerians.
He acknowledged the enormity of the money spent annually on security, claiming however that its accountability was evident in the level of security already achieved in various parts of the country.
“There is no country in the world that will come in the open to discuss this (accountability of security funds). But the fact remains that getting value for your investment is key. If you look at the level of peace in the South and even in the north despite the current challenge, you could see that there is value for the money. Don’t mind what the opposition is saying. The opposition is playing politics with the lives of the people”, he said.
The minister, who expressed concern over the sources of funding and logistics of terrorist activities in Nigeria, added: “See what America, as a superpower, is going through in Afghanistan. Ours can’t be in isolation. It’s the aspect of funding and logistics (for terrorists) that is hurting now. We’ve so much done by our security agents. They stopped bombing and abduction of people without telling you”, he said.
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