Chairman of the Victims Support Fund Committee, General Theophilus Danjuma has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to lead the onslaught to the Sambisa forest where the Boko Haram insurgents are said to be operating from.
Danjuma who spoke on Wednesday during the inauguration of the Committee in Abuja by President Jonathan said the war against terror was taking too long to win and must be won urgently by the Federal Government.
“One thing we will not do is to go to Sambisa forest. The commander-in-chief will lead and we will follow the commander-in-chief. But seriously, this war must be brought to an end. We must win this war immediately. It is taking too long.
“I called it civil war when it began; people say it is insurgency. The insurgents appear to be having an upper hand at this very moment. They pick and choose where to strike. They are even holding positions and displacing us. We must win this war Mr. President; we must do so immediately,” Danjuma said.
While inaugurating the Committee, President Jonathan admitted that his administration owes Nigerians victory over Boko Haram.
Stressing that evil will never prevail over good, Dr. Jonathan said no effort would be spared by his government to bring the individuals responsible for crimes against humanity to justice.
But he called for the support of all Nigerians for the security agencies in the war against terror.
He said: “We owe Nigerians nothing but victory over terror. The life of every Nigerian is precious and we will continue to work round the clock to put an end to this insurgency.”
“I call on all Nigerians to stand together in support of our security agencies against terrorism. They are working night and day under difficult circumstances. It is unfortunate that when our security personnel prevent 1000 attacks, it is the one attack that succeeds that makes headline news and tends to portray our security agencies as not doing enough. It is part of the realities we have to deal with.”
“The menace of terrorism has emerged as one of the most complex and challenging problems confronting governments in different parts of the world. Terrorists aim to cause social dislocation, spread fear and panic among the populace and disrupt government activities. But they never win. They have not won in the Middle East, in the USA, in China, in Columbia, in Italy, in the United Kingdom, in Kenya, etc. And they will not win in Nigeria. And, with the support of all Nigerians, we would ensure they do not win in Nigeria. Good must prevail over evil.”
The President spoke about how it began “on December 25, 2009, when a 23-year-old Nigerian attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, on his way from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, United States”.
“Although his plan failed and the lives of 289 passengers were saved, it was one incident that finally confirmed that a few Nigerians had finally embraced terrorism as a way of life. Now we could no longer deny that terror has arrived our country with its ugly claws deployed!”
He added: “The year 2009 appears to be a tragic turning point. Boko Haram, an assemblage of heartless individuals, took it upon itself to bring evil upon our country. They have in their mission, turned women to widows and reduced children to orphans.
“They have killed and maimed and struck fear into law-abiding citizens. They have destroyed villages, attacked property and terminated people’s livelihoods without a care in the world. They have engaged our security agencies in a meaningless warfare that has wasted unimaginable human and material resources.”
“The reality today is that, we are confronted with individuals whose minds have been so twisted and tutored to believe they are doing God a service.”
“For those who take pleasure in seeing innocent human beings in pains, to see limbs being shattered and blood flowing in all direction after terror attacks, we say, you shall have no hiding place. Nigerians will expose you. The people of conscience around the world have rejected you.”
Jonathan praised the countries backing Nigeria to fight the insurgency and this country’s neighbours for their co-operation.
He said: “This has given us more fillip and we are confident that the days of Boko Haram are numbered. It is now just a matter of time. Our war against terrorism is gathering momentum. When you read about bombing incidents in the mass media, they may come across to those not directly affected as mere statistics. As the old proverb says, when you carry another man’s coffin, it looks like an ordinary log of wood.”
“But to us, fathers and mothers, and the families of the victims, they are not just numbers. They are human beings – sons and daughters, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters and indeed, fathers and mothers! They are Nigerians!! They are individuals with dreams and aspirations, noble Nigerians who love their country.”
According to him, the Victims Support Fund Committee will help to mobilise collective efforts and resources in support of the victims.
He urged Nigerians and non-Nigerians, individuals and cooperate bodies, to give generously to the Fund.
The committee is to
•identify sources and ways of raising sustainable funding to support victims of terror activities;
•develop appropriate strategies for the fund raising;
•ascertain the persons, communities, facilities and economic assets affected by terror activities;
•assess and determine the appropriate support required in each case;
•manage, disburse and/or administer support to the victims as appropriate;
•address related challenges as may be appropriate; and
•advise the Government on other matter(s) necessary or incidental to support victims of terror activities.
Giving the vote of thanks, National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki, assured the committee that the Federal Government would win the war against terror.
He said: “Sir, you gave me a very difficult task after Gen. Danjuma’s statement. The only thing I will do is thank them for agreeing to serve and assure them that we will win the war.”
“But there are some very hard choices that would have to be made. We have to been more concern about the lives of a few versus the condition of a few million. The decision has to be made soon. This is not the first time we have been challenged by very senior Nigerians about the need to end this.