How Jonathan fought Boko Haram to standstill – Ex-Minister
A former minister of foreign affairs under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Aminu Wali, has stated that the previous government brought the Boko Haram insurgency to an end at the tail end of the administration.
Mr Wali, who was Nigeria’s ambassador to China between 2009 to 2014 stated this in an Exclusive Interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
He said the Boko Haram insurgency started getting bad after the government of President Muhammadu Buhari took over power in May 2015.
The electoral umpire, INEC, had, in 2015, announced a postponement of the 2015 general election.
While citing security reasons in the North East, the then Chairman, Attahiru Jega said the elections had to be postponed after the nation’s security agencies indicated to the commission that they were not available to support the elections earlier planned for February 14 and 28.
Security agents, within that period, said they were commencing a six-week special operation against Boko Haram insurgents in the north eastern corridors of the country and would rather not be distracted by the elections.
Mr Jega announced that the security forces also said the operations are due to commence on February 14, the date INEC had planned for the presidential and federal legislative elections.
How We Eliminated Attacks
The former minister, while speaking on how the Goodluck Jonathan administration defeated the Boko Haram terrorists when the election was postponed, also said they were sabotaged by the then state government of Borno State.
“There is no way a government would say we do not want assistance from any quarters. It was something that was being said to blackmail the sitting government at the time.
“What happened in Chibok, if you go deep, you would not even blame the central authorities. This was something that happened in Borno State and most of the persons involved were persons that were in [the state] government and they knew when this started happening.
“As far as Boko Haram is concerned, I can boldly say, by the time we left government, we had brought down Boko Haram to a standstill.
“If you recall, when the election was postponed for four weeks, it was because of insecurity. At that time, our operation in the North-east was succeeding.
“We brought Boko Haram where we want them that is why there was no single polling unit in the northeast where elections did not take place.”
“It was after we had left that a lot of things started to get bad again. Goodluck Jonathan’s government did a lot to stop Boko Haram,” he said.
He also said though they had their misfortunes with Boko Haram, they eliminated all forms of attacks before leaving office.
On why the then Government was unable to procure arms from foreign countries, Mr Wali said the opposition parties then painted the government in a bad light which countries like the United States of America fell for.
He said this brought about many problems the government faced in the fight against insurgency.
“You see, we discussed the problem of Boko Haram with various countries especially those who are in a position to give us some kind of support. But unfortunately, the approach in Nigeria now, which I believe it is still when it comes to insecurity in the country, the opposition (parties) wants to always be blasting the sitting government.
“They don’t give the right support and advice. They portray the whole thing as the fault of the government such that the western countries fell for this kind of propaganda, and we entered lots of problems.”
“For example, we (wanted) cobra helicopters from the U.S. they refused to sell it to us during my time. We headed elsewhere to get these helicopters. I visited Turkey. They said they are willing to sell to us those types of aircraft but, unfortunately, they cannot go ahead and sell to us because the engines are American, therefore, they have to have a license from the US. But the U.S. was not prepared to help,” he said.
He said the main concern of the US then was about the (then) coming election.
“They said is the election going to happen? I said yes. As far as they were concerned, they were not interested (in the request), all they were interested in was a change of government.”