A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, has admonished President Goodluck Jonathan to apply maximum force in dealing with the Boko Haram sect.
The elder statesman said he was distressed that after more than 100 days in captivity, the Federal Government had not been able to rescue the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls held hostage by the terrorists.
“I am very saddened and distressed that there is insurgency in Nigeria. I never thought it could come to this. If you look around the world, it is the same problem — you can see what is going on in Iraq and Syria; there is a group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that wants to take a part of Iraq and a part of Syria. It is totally unheard of.
“In Afghanistan, Yemen, and other places, you see wars going on. Terrorism has become a worldwide phenomenon. It is unfortunate that the Boko Haram insurgency is a different kind of war; the traditional war is a war against territory but this terrorist group kills people indiscriminately, unprovoked. They commit mindless violence”, he said.
Falae noted that the Nigerian armed forces should have gone after the radical Islamist militants with full force in the early stage of the insurgency.
“From the beginning of this insurgency, we should have gone after them with full force to stamp out insurgency. At the beginning, it was a local matter in the North-East being used by some politicians to achieve their own ends. But Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab have been given an opportunity to infiltrate Boko Haram; they’ve taken over, equipping them and financing them. What we have now is no longer a local issue. It is international in scope”, he maintained.
Although, he argued that terrorism was a global plague, he admitted that President Jonathan should have dealt decisively with the sect by using maximum force.
“Our government should do whatever it can to combine forces with diplomacy. But emphasis should be on force because if the government doesn’t deal with the insurgency now, it will rear its head tomorrow. Therefore, the time to have acted was yesterday, not today.
“But now that we’re here today, we should do whatever we can — we should use maximum force to stamp out this evil. It is evil; kidnapping innocent children, killing women and children for no reason. The government should do all it can to fully equip the soldiers, boost their morale and ensure their welfare is well taken care of”, the former presidential candidate said.