Senate president, David Mark, on Tuesday called for a full scale war against insurgents.
Mark, who had previously suggested dialogue with the sect members made the call after a debate on the abduction of over 200 girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
He noted that the insurgents should be the ones pleading for dialogue when the fight is heated, especially with the absurdity demonstrated by them in recent times.
The senate president declaration coincided with the protest by parents of the yet-to-be-found 181 girls, who stormed the National Assembly on Tuesday demanding the return of their daughters.
According to him, yesterday’s motion was the most emotional issue ever debated since his membership of the Senate in 1999.
“I have spent many years in the Senate here and I’m not sure there is any motion that has had so much emotional touch as this one. I think Ndume just managed to hold himself and the three senators who spoke also. I think the issue is not so much as to whether Boko Haram is even in the country now or not, but that 234 girls could disappear and up till now, none has been rescued. The 53 who are back escaped on their own” Mark said. “The story that Ndume narrated about soldiers going in the wrong direction when they got the information is a clear indication of what we are in for. The people we are dealing with are well trained. They are not terrorists, they are insurgents. All along, we have been reactive; if we are not proactive, we cannot deal with it. I have been in the forefront of saying we must dialogue with them but I think we must take the battle to a level where they must beg for dialogue. We cannot do this unless the locals on the ground there cooperate with members of the armed forces”.
The senate president pointed out that the insurgents had declared war against Nigeria, and called for a full military response beyond a mere declaration of emergency.
“There is no doubt that our nation is at war. The enemy has clearly and unequivocally served the nation notice of its vile intentions. Therefore, a clear, unambiguous and decisive military response from the government, beyond the imposition of a state of emergency, is urgently required in this circumstance. This is an option we must consider now” he said.
“It is obvious that we are dealing with insurgents and well-funded nihilists who are determined to violently trample upon the secularity of the Nigerian State and destroy the country. A modern, vibrant, progressive, multi-ethnic, multi-religious Nigeria is an anathema to them.
“Because they are fired by zealotry and extremism, they are not likely to be swayed by overtures of any kind. We must henceforth shift from fighting terrorism to fighting insurgency.
“Our emphasis must therefore be on winning the hearts and minds of the communities in the immediate theatres of conflict. The full might and strength of our security services must now be deployed to confront this scourge and we expect our security services to rapidly re-orient their assets and capabilities so as to overcome this difficult challenge.
“And this must be done within the shortest possible time frame with minimal casualties. Let me emphasise that for them to achieve this they require the cooperation of all and sundry.
“The government must do all it can to immediately identify the sponsors and the source of funds to the terrorists and the insurgents. In this connection, nobody who is implicated, no matter how highly placed, should be treated as a sacred cow.
“The breadth and scope of this assault on the Nigerian state makes for sombre reading; places of worship have been violated; pupils have been brutally murdered en masse in their dormitories; schoolgirls have been brutalised and kidnapped from their schools; police stations and army barracks have been attacked and incinerated; lives and properties have been destroyed and whole communities uprooted and made refugees in their own country” Mark said.
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