The service chiefs yesterday got a fresh marching order from President Muhammadu Buhari to crush the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), which has overtaken Boko Haram in the North East insurgency, before he leaves office in 2023.
Buhari handed down the order at a meeting of the Security Council in Abuja 24 hours after the group rained rockets close to the Maiduguri airport shortly before the President arrived in the city.
Several people were killed by the rockets.
And in his Christmas message yesterday, the President told Nigerians to invoke the “indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavoury situations in the nation’s history.”
Buhari wondered why ISWAP insurgents kept striking from the same corridor unchecked and told the Service Chiefs to be prepared to win the war against insurgency before he leaves office.
Buhari said he meant what he told the troops in Maiduguri on the need to rout Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgents.
“No one was happy with how the ISWAP insurgents struck on Thursday and took the shine off Mr. President’s visit.
“The President could not understand the recurring assaults from the same corridor or axis,” the source said.
“We had a similar incident on December 4. And before the President’s visit, a security /intelligence evaluation was done with a caveat that there should be a subsidiary operation to cordon off this axis.
Yet the insurgents fired rockets from the same axis and targeted the Maiduguri International Airport.
“Although the President did not betray emotions during his visit, he was certainly not happy with the situation of things.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “The President asked the Service Chiefs not to give terrorists, especially the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), a breathing space. He directed that no inch of Nigerian territory must be occupied by terrorists.
“He warned against the reversal of the gains the military has made. He also sought a more proactive campaign to rout the insurgents, whether Boko Haram or ISWAP.
“He said his administration is prepared to win the war against insurgency.”
The Nation also gathered that top Army Generals were yesterday deployed in Borno State to “review the situation and boost the war against the insurgents.
Another source added: “Many Army Generals arrived in Borno State on Friday to review the situation and improve on the operational strategies.”
Buhari at Christmas: How we can end this unsavoury security situation.
The President in his Christmas message as Nigeria joins the rest of the world today to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ asked Nigerians to invoke the “indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavoury situations in the nation’s history.”
Similar goodwill messages came from Senate President Ahmed Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, state governors, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Dr.Ignatius Kaigama, who said the hearts of Nigerians are heavy with suffering arising from the situation in the country.
Buhari said Nigeria is yet to overcome its security challenges “despite the remarkable successes generally recorded.”
He said: “Our courageous security forces, bolstered by the necessary support from this administration, daily confront the wicked ones amongst us, who continue to to threaten the peace of the land.
“Recently, during the meeting with fellow Heads of State of the ECOWAS, I discussed the need to intensify efforts to jointly confront this menace causing instability in our sub-region.
“I am confident that with the renewed commitment and empowerment of our committed security personnel, all these issues which inflict pain and trauma on us will soon be history.
Let us utilise the opportunity that this festive period brings to encourage ourselves so that the machinations of the wicked ones in our midst will find no place to thrive.
“Christmas is a season when hope is rekindled. Hope, Peace, Joy, Love are the recurring themes of this time.
“It is in the midst of hardship that the true test of a nation emerges.
“I urge Nigerians to invoke the indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavory situations in the nation’s history.”
He pledged that government would not abandon the promises made to Nigerians for a better lease of life, while it would continue to “create opportunities for our teeming youths to ventilate their tremendous energy.”
Buhari said this is the second Christmas running that the world “will not be able to celebrate as we used to in years past,” on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He appealed to Nigerians to “embrace vaccination, which is the best scientifically known bulwark against the pandemic.”
He asked those that have taken the two doses to go ahead and take the booster as advised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC).
APC: We’re solidly committed to innovations to improve Nigeria’s electioneering processes
The All Progressives Congress (APC) said it remains solidly committed to “constitutionally permitted and practical innovations and processes that will improve the transparency and credibility of Nigeria’s election eering processes and internal democracy.”
The National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Dr. John Akpanudoedehe, assured Nigerians of the Buhari administration’s “capacity, intent and urgency to check and contain all criminalities so that Nigerians could go about their legitimate activities across the country safely.”
The party urged Nigerians to “use the joyful season to give and show love to our fellow men, particularly the needy and vulnerable among us,” while also urging “prayers and support for our selfless security and other essential services massively deployed around the country to ensure safe travel and yuletide festivities.”
PDP to Nigerians: Let’s reinforce our determination for national rebirth
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) advised Nigerians to use the Christmas to reinforce their determination for national rebirth.
The party’s spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, also stressed the need for Nigerians to unite and show love to one another, in line with the party’s mission to “rescue and rebuild the nation from misrule”.
The party said it was “deeply worried that in the last six years, Nigerians have been forced to mark Christmas in gloom, pain, anguish and utter despondency following excruciating economic hardship and worsened insecurity.”
It added: “The PDP is saddened that while people celebrate in other parts of the world, many Nigerian families could not afford the basic items of celebration or even travel, as they did in the past, to meet and bond with their loved ones due to high costs, worsened insecurity and deplorable state of roads which are now death traps in our country.
The PDP however urged Nigerians not to allow the suffering they face today to dampen or destroy their inner personalities as happy people so as not to lose sight of the message of hope, salvation and brighter future which Christmas offers.
National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, charged Nigerians to keep hope alive in spite of daunting circumstances.
Ayu, in a Christmas goodwill message, said although the occasion symbolises love, hope, sharing, celebration and thanksgiving, the gloomy economic situation has made such very difficult.
He said: “But I charge Nigerians not to lose hope. Keep hope alive. There is life beyond the APC gloom. The day will break after this long night. Do not let the sorry state of the nation dampen the Christmas spirit”.
Atiku Abubakar urges Nigerians to sow seeds of unity.