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Nigeria in a state of war with Boko Haram, says Okupe

Published on February 28, 2014 by   ·   No Comments

“We are engaged in a war that has been internationalised,” he added in an apparent reference to Boko Haram’s reported but unconfirmed presence in neighbouring countries like Cameroon.

œThey (military) can only take order from the President who is their Commander in chief. The Army does not take order from civilians,” Okupe said.

“It is very difficult, very costly in terms of lives lost. But we will overcome,” Okupe said. “We are in the dying phase of this insurgency.”

Doyin Okupe: Nigeria in a state of war with Boko Haram

The conflict has killed thousands since 2009 but many argue the plight of civilians in the northeast has worsened since the military began its operation in May.

Nigeria’s presidency on Friday said the country was at war with Boko Haram, apparently backing off previous claims that the Islamist rebels were on the run and desperate.

“Things may not be working, but that does not mean people are not doing what they are supposed to do,” said Okupe who added that the military is implementing a new programme that will scale up the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists as revealed by the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, during a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.

He said the Army cannot take order from civilians.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has been fiercely criticised over its handling of the conflict, both for its inability to stop massive attacks on defenceless civilians and for what some have described as mixed and contradictory messages on the severity of the crisis.

“We are dealing with a very, very serious enemy,” he said.

When pressed further if he did not think that the morale of the troops fighting the insurgents may be boosted if the COAS obey the Senate order, Okupe said the military hierarchy have been visiting the site of the war against the extremists on their own accord from time to time and œthey don™t need you and I to tell them.”

Doyin Okupe: Nigeria in a state of war with Boko Haram

On Friday, presidency spokesman Doyin Okupe told the private Channels television station that the Boko Haram conflict was a “war situation”.

œWe only need to have confidence in the people that are working for our country, unless you don™t have confidence in the process that produces them. But by the time a man left the NDA, he became a Major General, he became Chief of Army Staff, you have to defer to his opinion on military things.

The defence ministry on Thursday said the insurgents were “desperate” to escape Nigeria because of military pressure and would be “degraded towards elimination shortly”.

Okupe however said that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Keneth Minimah will not obey last Wednesday™s order by the Senate Committee on Defence to relocate his office to 7th Division of the Nigeria Army, Maiduguri, Borno State so as enhance the war against Boko Haram insurgents.

Jonathan has termed the ongoing military offensive in Boko Haram northeastern stronghold a success and maintained that normality will be restored to the embattled region by May.

Since then, nearly 300,000 people have been displaced in the region, according to the UN, and more than 1,500 people killed, according to the UN and figures compiled by AFP.

The presidential aide who said the pattern of the latest series of attacks by Boko Haram indicated that the insurgency is at its dying stage added that Nigerians should have confidence in the ability of the military to deliver on their mandate since they have been trained to do so.

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Posted by on February 28, 2014, 12:19 pm. Filed under National, News.
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