The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, on Friday compared the interrelationship between the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Boko Haram terrorist group and Nigerians to a game of football.
On Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Okupe said: “When you are playing against a very strong opponent and your goal keeper keeps away 20 or 40 shots and there are no goals but 2 minutes to the end of the match, the opponent scores one goal and you lose 1-nil, that is the one everybody remembers”.
He further described the security situation as a war.
“I am also willing to admit that we are in a war situation. definitely, in a war situation and in a war situation, all sort of things do happen.
“The carnage and loss of human lives is of a proportion that nobody would have conceived or imagined but I believe it’s not all bad news,” Dr okupe said.
He spoke on the challenge of curbing the activities of the insurgency who are known to attack and retreat into the shadows. “The battle line is not clearly defined.”
He further commended the efforts of the military in containing the insurgency, saying: “Personally, as a person, I have the greatest of respect for the Nigerian Military. They deserve that respect”. He called on others to do the same based on past records of the Military during their Peace Keeping Missions, in other countries.
The president’s spokesman further stated that he believed in military and trusted in them.
“I believe that they are professional men and women. I believe that they have the competence to handle this issue and I believe that over the time, they have acquired better training and better equipment but we are dealing with a very serious enemy. Let us accept it,” he emphasised.
According to him, the rise in the spate of attacks by the Boko Haram signals the end of the insurgency. “From what is going on now, I believe very strongly that we are more or less in the dying phase of this insurgency. Also, the pattern seems to also follow the historical pattern of an exiting terrorist act.”
He maintained that the Army had been able to push the terrorists to the Border areas where they now attack soft targets, defenceless and innocent citizens.
Further commenting on the porous security in the border areas spanning Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, Okupe said: “Even if the entire Nigerian Army were to move there, you would still not be able to contain or stop insurgent activities, 100%”.
Responding to critics, who have decried the seeming lack of intelligence on the terrorists by the Army, Okupe said the claims were not true but refused to divulge any more information to counter what the critics said.
“Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to speak about the degree of things that I personally know.
He called on Nigerians to believe in his words, saying that, “I have never come on television to lie to Nigerians since I got this job.”
This particular administration has invested several billions of Naira in intelligence gathering and evidence shows that it is working.”
He stressed that, “for every insurgent activity, several hundreds have been aborted, prevented or thwarted but the ones that you see are the ones that escape the radar”.
Compensation For Victims
Asked what the plans were for the families of the victims of terrorist attacks, Okupe said: “I believe that the Federal Government is more than prepared to give succour and comfort directly or indirectly through the States.”
He solicited for support of the government by concerned individuals in Nigeria, pointing out that “there is need for better understanding and co-operation between all stakeholders in this matter. That I must stay is not there yet”.
“We must support each other’s weaknesses and support each other’s shortcomings, but the overall interest must be to preserve the lives or properties of Nigerians in these areas,” he added.