Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the military to intensify mop up operations in liberated villages in northeast Nigeria, as displaced persons prepare to return home.
The former president, who is in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on a two-day familiarisation visit in the University of Maiduguri, said although the war against insurgents was far from over, there was evidence that the Nigerian Army was winning.
“Not Out Of The Woods Yet”
Obasanjo’s last visit to Maiduguri was in September 2011 at the heat of the six year old insurgency.
He believes that security in the troubled town has greatly improved compared to the situation during his last visit.
“We are not out of the woods yet but it will appear we can see the light beyond the tunnel.
“There is no doubt that with the combined efforts of the local, state, federal and the community level that our security forces are on ascendency over the forces of destruction.” Obasanjo told the State Governor, Kashim Shettima, in a meeting held at the Government House.
The octogenarian is positive that “at this rate all Internally Displaced Persons should have vacated makeshift camps and return to their towns by December this year”.
Obasanjo, a retired military general, said he had been talking to Nigeria’s president, Muhammad Buhari, on the most effective approach to the insurgency problem and humanitarian issues surrounding it.
Obasanjo said he was saddened by the alarming number of Widows and orphans caused by insurgency, maintaining that they must be empowered and given life again, as they prepare to return home.
Governor Kashim Shettima agreed with the former President on the improved security situation in the state and the need to support victims of insurgency, as the state continues to count its enormous losses.
According to the Governor, at least one million private homes, 512 primary schools, 38 secondary schools, 201 healthcare centres, 1630 water sources and 665 municipal buildings were among destruction carried out by Boko Haram terrorists.
This is in addition to other monumental losses that had forced the government to spend state funds on compensation to victims to dissuade them from joining Boko Haram.
Shettima is hopeful that the end of Boko Haram is near while calling for Federal Government’s assistance in the ongoing rebuilding project the state government is undertaking.