The immediate past president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, said that the present administration is fighting the war against the Boko Haram terrorists with the arms his that were acquired under his administration.
The former president made this revelation in an interview with International news channel, France24 where he noted that the jihadist group caught the country off guard but a solid foundation however, was laid by his government for dealing with them. In the words of the former president;
“The new government is working hard and I believe they are still using the equipment we procured. The budget is still being debated, no new equipment has been bought, so even those equipment the president is using to prosecute the war against Boko Haram are those equipment we procured and I believe that with what we left behind and the new ones they will acquire, this issue of Boko Haram will be taken to a logical conclusion.
When Boko Haram started in Nigeria, we had no terror experience. Yes we had armed robbery and other common crimes, but terrorism was different because the people involved were not afraid to die. So, you need a different mechanism to confront terrorism, you need superior technology, so that you will be able to stop them even before the attack. We never had the equipment, but when we were confronted, we started acquiring and before I left office we built reasonable capacity and I believe with what we left behind and also with what the new government will acquire, they will be able to prosecute this terror war to a reasonable conclusion.”
Talking about the claim that his administration negotiated with fake Boko Haram members, Jonathan denied it saying that,
“People come up with all sorts of allegations. The truth of the matter was that we realised that the epicentre of the terrorists activities were in two states – Borno and Yobe, we decided to set up a committee of influential people in those two states to interact with their people to see if they can help in tackling the problem.
We did not negotiate with Boko Haram. The people we negotiated with were militants in the Niger Delta and it was successful.
Even the current President said recently that if they see credible members of Boko Haram, they would be willing to discuss with them. If somebody said we negotiated with fake members of Boko Haram, the person is just playing politics.”
When the former Nigerian leader was asked to comment on the current $2.1 billion arms deal scam, Jonathan said;
“This issue always comes up but I always insist that the matters are being investigated and they are in our own courts and in Nigeria where our issues are before the courts, you don’t make comments on it. It is considered prejudice. But one thing you will also realize is that for us to have conducted elections across the country, all parts of the country, that means that we prosecuted the war against Boko Haram to a reasonable level. Otherwise, we couldn’t have been in position to conduct elections across the country and we couldn’t have fought Boko Haram with bare hands.
This issues of corruption, issues of misuse of funds, being investigated before the courts and I wouldn’t want to compromise the position of our laws because while I served as the President of Nigeria, I made sure that the judiciary had their own independence. I made sure that there is maximum separation of powers between all arms of government. So haven left office, I don’t think I will be the person that will say things that will be detrimental to the judicial processes.”
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