Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says Boko Haram is no longer a serious fighting force.
Osinbajo said this on Tuesday while speaking at the opening of the 8th edition of the 2018 national security seminar.
The seminar which has the theme ‘The Fighting Tomorrow’s Warfare Today’ was organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AABDEC).
The vice-president said the insurgents would do anything to continue feeding off “the oxygen of media attention.”
“They (Boko Haram) will alter their goals and objectives at random, and are capable of doing anything and everything to continue feeding off the oxygen of media attention,” the vice-president said.
“Yet this should not be interpreted as meaning that we fighting an unwinnable war. We can boldly say that today Boko Haram is no longer a serious fighting force.
“We have to be strategic in our approach, responding not out of panic or fear, but out of a determination to secure our nation and keep our people safe not only from terrorism but from every other threat they face. We must fight them on multiple fronts, starve them of funding and resources, of sympathisers, and of the oxygen of publicity, especially on the Internet.”
Osinbajo said the army must focus its strength on expanding conventional and developing a robust capacity to take the fight outside its comfort zones.
He said the occasional setbacks recorded in the fight against the insurgents is not unique to Nigeria.
“Two weeks ago one such incident took place, in the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state. Suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a girls’ secondary school, abducting 110 girls. And then last week, the attacks on a humanitarian camp in Rann in Borno state,” he said.
“Both incidents have received widespread condemnation from around the world. They are reminders of the absolute ruthlessness of the enemy – and the fact that it will resort to increasingly desperate and callous moves on our most vulnerable people and places, even as its losses mount.Very often, the campaign of violence is foiled, thankfully.
“Towards the end of 2017, the Global Terrorism Index reported that terrorism deaths in Nigeria fell by 80 percent between 2015 and 2016. That figure of 80 percent represents countless Boko Haram attacks prevented from happening by the efforts of the Nigerian military. We must never forget that.
“Frustratingly, however, all that a terrorist group requires to be deemed extraordinary is for it to record a high-profile success every now and then.”
He said the job of the government is not an easy one “but there should be no room for self-pity or frustration on our part.”
“More than ever before we are mobilizing to ensure that schools in the North-east are kept secure from Boko Haram,” Osinbajo said.
On his part, Jonathan Tamlong, president of AABDEC, said the army must develop a culture of taking bold and calculated risks.
“The military must develop a culture of experimentation and taking bold and calculated risks. Nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction are already being proliferated in many nations whose ability to effect our control access to such controlled weapons is sometimes in doubt,” Tamlong said.
“Should some of these fall into wrong hands, there would be serious challenges to the survival of generations of people.
“Today, the non-state criminal actors are engaging national armies in asymmetrical warfare. Though they do not have airplanes or nuclear capability yet, they have continued to give the national armies and coalitions tough times, occupying territories, inflicting massive pains and deaths on the populace.
“At the rate states are failing, armouries being looted and porous borders remain largely unmanned, greater challenges lie ahead. This is noting that criminal groups keep increasing in number and prevalent conditions on a global scale make it so easy for them to recruit members.
“There is therefore no gainsaying that we must intensity our efforts to deal with the asymmetric populace of today and prepare to face the emerging more complex trends in tomorrow’s warfare.”