Senator Ali Ndume, (APC Borno-South), has told the federal government to be sincere and tell Nigerians the truth on the purported ceasefire agreement it had with the Boko Haram insurgents few weeks back but which, by all indications, have backfired.
The lawmaker, who questioned the credibility of the statement issued by the federal government over a ceasefire by Boko Haram, said the development was not the first time Nigerians have been misled by government on the fight against insurgency, especially in view of the latest video by the sect’s leader, Shekau, issuing a disclaimer denying same.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday at the National Assembly, Ndume said: “This ceasefire is an issue that we have been hearing several times and that is why even when it was announced we were so excited, hoping that it is for real this time around; but so many Nigerians were also skeptical.”
According to him, “This is not the first time federal government hurriedly rushed to the press to say something is coming; they just build on our excitement and you could see now that the credibility of the statement made is in question, because while the federal government is saying that it engaged in ceasefire, the latest video issued by so-called Shekau denied the ceasefire.
“Equally most unfortunate, we have been hearing that Shekau has been killed or that he is dead but we keep on seeing another Shekau coming out to issue statements, which shows that the actual Shekau is still there because of the resemblance and statement and the methodology.
“The way out is that the federal government should be sincere and should be serious,” he said.
According to Ndume, “Seeking assistance from other countries does not show weakness; because we have been doing that to other countries, even stronger or developed countries.”
He said efforts by legislators to approach the United Nations in Nigeria for assistance in the fight against insurgency met with a brick wall, as they were told the request had to come from the federal government.
Senator Ndume therefore appealed to the federal government to resort to foreign assistance by putting forward a request to the United Nations, should it find the fight against Boko Haram a challenging one.
“We, as representatives of the people, have ran to the United Nations here; we met the Country Director but they told us that the request cannot come from Senators, which has to be from the federal government.
He however added that if the federal government is serious on the war against Boko Haram, Nigeria has the capacity to win the war, since the Boko Haram insurgents are far below the Nigerian Army alone in terms of population talk-less of other national security outfits.
He said “The Nigerian government has been saying we have the capacity to contain the insurgency and I believe them too; I have said this several times. I don’t believe that the insurgents are more than ten thousand in number; even with the conscripted ones. And we have an army strength of over 100,000. That means one Boko Haram to ten soldiers; does that mean that ten soldiers cannot take on one Boko Haram? If the government is serious about it this problem of insecurity, it can be handled within the shortest possible time”, he added.