By Tunde Opalana
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has dismissed claims by a fledgling group, the Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development, of a worsening security situation in the region and other parts of the country, Daily Times gathered.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that it is amusing that a group from the northeast could make claims that are not supported by facts.
“We are amused to see an assertion by a hitherto unknown group headed by one Zanna Goni, and which some media outfits tagged as northeast elders, flaying President Muhammadu Buhari over what it described as ‘unabated insecurity’
“We find it strange that a group which wants to be seen as representing elders in that region will be so dismissive of what this administration is doing to stem the tide of insecurity, especially in a region that was a hotbed of insurgency.
“Where were Zanna and his ilk when Boko Haram insurgents were having a field day in the northeast, which they claim to be representing, to the extent that they had full control of several local governments across three states, in addition to having a caliphate where they had their headquarters?
“But now that the terrorists have lost territories they once held, as well as their operational base in Sambisa Forest, and had been pushed to the fringes of Lake Chad, a faceless group is claiming that the country is not winning the war against insurgency.
“How can a group that is truly on the ground in the northeast claim that the military has run out of ideas on the war when insurgents that used to stage audacious bomb and gun attacks have now been reduced to staging hit-and-run attacks?
“Like many Nigerians, we recognise that the country is not completely free of security challenges, but it is not true that the situation is worsening”.
BMO maintained that no real northeast elder with a conscience would fail to appreciate what the Buhari administration is doing in that region.
“It is a matter of fact that the government is not only working on countering the insurgents but also ensuring that the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency are tackled.
“Are these so-called elders not aware of the mandate of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and what the agency had been doing since inception?
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Marshal-type development plan was based on a bill spearheaded by the then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and was meant to pave way for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of towns and villages destroyed by the insurgents with a view to ensuring the long term resettlement of victims of Boko Haram insurgency.
“We also know for a fact that life has returned to normal in many parts of the northeast and this has seen several well-meaning individuals from the region, including Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, affirming the improved security situation.
“It is also clear that the security agencies are ramping up pressure on terror groups and bandits operating in other parts of the country, including Southern Kaduna, where Special Forces are dominating the terrain today”.ability of the Buhari administration to make the country more secure and safer for all”, the group said.