The Federal Government yesterday, lamented that the acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Boko Haram are the worst form of violence suffered by the country after the civil war, indicating that the sect is the country’s greatest nightmare.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who lamented the havoc caused by the dreaded sect while declaring open the first regional conference on counter terrorism, facilitated by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) for all countries in the West African sub-region in Abuja, however, restated government’s resolve to crush the sect and make the country safe for all.
In his address, President Jonathan told the conference that although the country had experienced some forms of ethnic, religious, political crisis, including the militant activities in the Niger Delta after the civil war, it had not witnessed the kind of terrorists acts unleashed by the sect, with indiscriminate use of violence to drive home its demands. Represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, Jonathan said government had taken measures to contain the sect and its activities, expressing the optimism that terrorism would soon end in the country.
He pointed out that since assuming office, his administration had worked to build capacities required to contain the menace of the Boko Haram sect, which was prevalent in the northern part of the country. As part of the measures, he said on June 3, 2011, his administration signed into law, the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which criminalized terrorism and terrorist activities, as well as provided severe sanctions for terrorists, and created the counter terrorism department in the office of the national security adviser.
Besides, he said the experiences in the past one year had shown that a stronger law was needed in the country to tackle terrorism, which, he said, was in the offing, adding that a draft national anti-terrorism strategy had also been produced, which would soon be in circulation.
Vowing that, “the scourge of terrorism will be eradicated in our country,” the president said government would remain resolute in fighting terrorists to ensure the safety of the people in the country. “While we do this in Nigeria, there is need to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation to tackle international terrorism.” That, he said, was the essence of the conference, seeing that the Boko Haram had been traced to have its operational base and activities elsewhere in the West African sub-region.
He urged participants to come up with a comprehensive regional counter terrorism strategy and proffer practical options that would assist the sub-region to overcome terrorism by eliminating it in all its forms throughout West Africa.
Earlier in his address, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd), expressed the need for unflinching cooperation by all the countries to end terrorism, warning that no country of the world was immune from its effect. “Terrorism which is usually associated with violence in various forms has been in existence for a long time. It has become a serious global phenomenon and has transcended every border such that no continent, region or country of the world is immune from its effect. Nigeria and the West Africa sub region unfortunately have not been left out on extremist activities.”
Nigeria has been grappling with the menace of the terrorist groups while affiliate groups have been carrying out campaigns of terror especially in the Sahel, North and East Africa sub-region. Game changing incidents and the sophistication of the emerging terrorist groups have thrown up greater challenges to security and intelligence agencies across our region,” Dasuki stated.