Sunday, 7 December 2014

France Aiding Boko Haram, Nigerian Minister Alleges

Dr Sulaiman
Nigeria's Minister of National Planning, Dr Abubakar Sulaiman, has blamed continued onslaught of Boko Haram terrorists on Nigeria on alleged animosity the country shares with Francophone West African countries.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, at the weekend, the minister, who said Nigeria should revisit its Francophone policy, added that the issue of Boko Haram insurgency was political and, fundamentally, military.

“First, the issue of terrorism is global, regional and sub-regional. Second, the terrorism we have in Nigeria has internal and external dimensions to it. Some of the terrorists are not just Nigerians; they are not operating from Nigeria; they are operating from Nigerian borders and they have some back up from neighbouring

“When you look at Nigeria’s history, we have been consistent in the kind of animosity we share with the Francophone West African countries.

Nigeria should revisit, for instance, its francophone policy. We should look at the French policy on Nigeria. We should look at the position of France to Nigeria security. We should look at what has been, over the years, the strategy in the area of politics. What have been the relation, attitude, orientation, conduct and posture of France to Nigeria?

“Again, we need to go back to what had been the attitude of France and French government to the Boko Haram issue in our effort to fight terrorism.
“I don’t think Boko Haram is having its ways because government is not working. It is having its way because we are not getting enough support from the sub region. It’s fundamental.

“Third, people should be mindful of one thing when they try to criticize President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue of terrorism. We should know that when it comes to fighting terrorism, counter-terrorism and warfare, presidents do not go to war. It’s the handiwork of the armed forces. It’s the primary responsibility of the military. And let me say this, the Nigerian armed forces today is being dominated by Northerners and the Boko Haram spate is in the North. If there is a problem there, we look at our tactics, military operation and suspect some subversive tendencies in the armed forces.

“The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is from the North. The National Security Adviser (NSA) is from the North. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is from the North. So, why must anyone blame the president? I think we should appreciate what the man is doing by mobilising all these forces.

“So, if there’s problem, we should ask questions from the military and troops. Warfare or counter-terrorism is not just about the president. A lot of factors come in military strategy. And one of it is what I call Grand National strategy. I think we should appreciate the president on what he has done and see how we can collectively devise other mechanisms to get solution to the problem, rather than heaping blame on president.

“Yes, it’s a political issue, but fundamentally, a military issue. And I am not saying they have not tried,” he said.

Nigerian Tribune Newspaper