“This unconventional war has so far claimed
over twelve thousand lives, with more than 8,
000 persons injured or maimed, not to mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians,” he said. President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday said the Boko Haram insurgent’s ultimate plan is to
“destabilize the country, and take over Nigeria.”
Mr. Jonathan said this at the “Regional Summit
on Security in Nigeria,” held in France and attended by leaders of some of Nigeria’s neighbours including Benin, Chad, Niger
Republic, and Cameroon; as well as the French President, Francois Hollande, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and other world leaders.
The Nigerian president told his audience that the Boko Haram is “hostile to democracy.” “it uses every means to indoctrinate its
members; its ultimate objective is to destabilize the country, and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a base of operation in
West Africa and the entire continent,” Mr. Jonathan said.
The president also spoke on the abduction of over 250 girls from the Government Secondary
School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14; and the government’s efforts to free them. “The major challenge that we have faced in our search and rescue operation so far has been the deluge of misinformation about the
whereabouts of the girls and the circumstances of their disappearance,” Mr. Jonathan said. “We have deployed about 20,000 troops to the area, intensified aerial surveillance, and
strengthened local intelligence resources. “We shall spare no effort, we shall explore every avenue; we shall turn every stone, to ensure the return of the girls to their families and that the terrorists are defeated.”
Mr. Jonathan sought the assistance of the international community in defeating the Boko
Haram, saying the group has caused the death of over 12,000 Nigerians since its insurgency
began in 2009.
“This unconventional war has so far claimed over twelve thousand lives, with more than 8,000 persons injured or maimed, not to
mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians,” he said. Read Mr. Jonathan’s full presentation below:
ADDRESS By PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE
JONATHAN, GCFR President Federal Republic of
Nigeria AT THE REGIONAL SUMMIT ON SECURITY IN NIGERIA PARIS, FRANCE – SATURDAY 17TH MAY 2014
1. It gives me great pleasure to attend this Special Summit to deliberate on the current
security situation in Nigeria.
2. Let me start by first expressing my deep thanks and appreciation to the President of the French Republic, His Excellency, Mr Francois Hollande, for convening this Summit. This is the second time within a year that we have
come to Paris to discuss what are essentially African security issues. This present Summit further underscores President Hollande’s
commitment to Africa’s stability, peace and development.
3. I also wish to thank my colleagues and brothers from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, namely, His Excellency President
Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, His Excellency President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, His Excellency President Paul Biya of Cameroon
and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, for their solidarity and friendly
disposition in attending this Summit at a very short notice. Let me also thank the European
Union, the United States Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, and the Rt. Hon. William
Hague, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom for honouring
this invitation. You have borne with my country, the huge burden of our counter- insurgency operations, sometimes with
collateral damage. I thank you for your support and cooperation.
4. Without doubt, your concern and empathy with the government and people of Nigeria is a clear demonstration of true solidarity and brotherhood in ensuring that the current security challenges facing our country are addressed in a definitive and conclusive manner.
5. But let me state clearly from the outset that what started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria has now evolved into the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against our civilization, our way of life, and against the
many prospects of stability in our region. This is not anymore a challenge to Nigeria alone; it
is a threat to each and every one of us in this room.
6. The Boko Haram Sect emerged in 2002 while its insurgency phase started as far back
as 2009. Officially known as the Jamaa’tu Ahlis
Sunna Lidda’wati Wal Jihad, which in English
means “people committed to the propagation
of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, the
group is more commonly identified with its
motivating principle, and referred to as Boko
Haram which literally means, Western or non-
Islamic education is prohibited.
7. The group is hostile to democracy; it uses
every means to indoctrinate its members; its
ultimate objective is to destabilize the country,
and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a
base of operation in West Africa and the entire
8. Since 2009, we have had to contend with
many attacks and killings, which have now
developed into a full-scale war targeting the
stability and integrity of our Nation. Boko
Haram has launched a vicious guerrilla-style
campaign against the government and the
people of Nigeria. It has attacked schools,
slaughtered students in their dormitories,
destroyed villages, communities and
government infrastructure and has wreaked
havoc on the economic and social life of our
9. This unconventional war has so far claimed
over twelve thousand lives, with more than 8,
000 persons injured or maimed, not to
mention the displacement of thousands of
10. We have developed intelligence, which
indicates clearly that global terrorist networks
are deeply involved in the recent activities of
Boko Haram, which has now turned into an
integral part of the Al Qaeda network as the
West African Branch. More tellingly, the group
runs an international network of training and
incubation centres in such places as Gao and
Kidal areas of Mali, the Diffa, Maradi and
Maina Soro areas of Niger Republic, Maroua
and Garoua areas of Republic of Cameroun, the
Zango and Ridina quarters in Ndjamena, Chad,
the Ranky-Kotsy area of Sudan, and also some
cells in the Central African Republic.
11. As a responsible Government, we felt
compelled to declare a State of Emergency in
three of Nigeria’s North Eastern States of
Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. This became
necessary to give the security forces the
required scope and authority, to enable them
operate more efficiently in the affected areas
in order to gain victory.
12. They were directed to adhere strictly to
clearly spelt out rules of engagement and
avoid any excesses that may amount to a
violation of human rights. Careful regard for
human rights has always been central to our
counter-terrorism strategies, resulting in the
adoption of rules and procedures to protect
the civilian population from excessive
13. Last year, I had ordered the release from
detention of women and under-aged persons
who had been involved with terrorists and
also, persons against whom prima facie cases
could not be established. Proven incidents of
human rights violation which may have
involved our security forces are always
promptly investigated and dealt with in
accordance with our laws.
14. In addition to military operation, our
administration has adopted what we have
termed “a soft approach” to combatting the
insurgency. This includes short, medium and
long-term measures to mitigate the impact on
the people and the entire country. Our focus
along this line, has been mainly in form of the
introduction of a robust educational
programme in the Northern states, to reduce
the number of out-of-school children and
empower the youths.
15. We have launched economic recovery
programmes to create jobs, while also
providing infrastructure, which unfortunately
is heavily threatened by the terror attacks.
Other measures include the introduction of de-
radicalization programmes for convicted
terrorists and suspects awaiting trial, and the
promotion of opportunities for dialogue and
collaboration with critical stakeholders from
16. Nonetheless, Boko Haram has continued to
attack innocent Nigerians without regard to
religion, ethnicity and gender. Christians have
been killed; churches have been destroyed,
Muslims have also been murdered and
17. The reprehensible abduction of innocent
school girls in Chibok, Borno State is another
manifestation of this criminality.
18. We believe that it is the success of our
administration’s Transformation Agenda,
evident in the growth of our economy and
increasing opportunities for our people, that
has prompted the terrorists to intensify the
war against Nigeria, because our success is
19. The activities of the terrorists have also
been felt across Nigerian borders particularly
in Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Border and
cross-border attacks have taken place with
Boko Haram terrorists seeking refuge in our
neighbouring countries. So many Nigerians,
fleeing from terror attacks, have also become
refugees in our neighbouring countries
creating additional burden (security and
financial) in those countries.
20. It is the regional and global character of
the terrorists’ campaign that makes it
imperative that we explore and adopt a
regional and global approach to addressing this
insurgency and menace. Indeed, in the spirit of
collective regional security, it is important that
we accept that an attack on one country is an
attack on all of us, and our common humanity.
21. It is equally important that we accept the
principle of hot pursuit of terrorists in the
context of joint border patrols and
cooperation in order to deny them sanctuaries
and make it impossible for them to take refuge
in each other’s territory. I note with
satisfaction that some mechanisms for joint
border patrols including customs and
immigration administration have commenced.
22. But we need to do more to restore security
along our common borders, focussing
especially on the actualisation of the mandate
of the Multinational Task Force on the Lake
23. In addition, we have intensified the
exchange of intelligence and information on
cross-border movements of goods and services
of illicit origin, especially small arms and light
weapons as well as human trafficking.
24. At the multi-lateral level, we are
developing a regional strategy to win the war
against terror within the region. The
importance we attach to combating terrorism
informed our decision to invite African leaders
during our Centenary celebrations to deliberate
on ‘Human Security, Peace and Development:
Agenda for 21st Century Africa.’
25. We have signed bilateral agreements with
our neighbouring countries on security and are
engaged in Joint Operations with Benin
Republic, Chad and Niger. In this regard, we
welcome the support and assistance of all our
partners from the region, the continent and
around the world in providing technical
expertise, training programmes and support
for border-area management programmes.
26. At the international level, we should take
concrete steps to designate the Al Qaeda in
West Africa, alias Boko Haram, as a Terrorist
Organisation on the basis of the Proscription
Order that my government has already
imposed on the organisation.
27. We should also accelerate the
implementation of other international
sanctions, particularly under the auspices of
the United Nations, on Boko Haram, Ansaru
and their principal leaders.
28. We are already making thorough
intelligence efforts to identify their sponsors
and their sources of funding and arms supply.
I have no doubt that with the cooperation of
Nigeria’s neighbours, it would be possible to
rein in these organisations until this scourge is
ultimately eliminated and defeated. We will not
succumb to terrorists and their dangerous
tactics. Terrorists will not be allowed to define
who we are or instil fear in our people and
cause destruction and mayhem. The time has
therefore come for all peace-loving peoples of
the world to unite against this new threat to
global peace and stability.
29. The abduction of young innocent school
girls in Chibok represents a watershed, and a
turning point, in the global terrorist war
against human civilization. The escalation by
the terrorists should not go unanswered by us.
The world is entering a new stage and we must
stand firm to protect our civilization.
30. I will like to seize this opportunity to
express the gratitude of the Government and
the people of Nigeria to all countries who are
actively participating, side by side, with our
country, in seeking the rescue of these school
girls. I must commend the efforts of countries
like France, the United States, the United
Kingdom and Israel, among other partners who
have offered technical assistance to my
Government in our joint efforts to rescue these
31. The major challenge that we have faced in
our search and rescue operation so far has
been the deluge of misinformation about the
whereabouts of the girls and the circumstances
of their disappearance.
32. We have deployed about 20,000 troops to
the area, intensified aerial surveillance, and
strengthened local intelligence resources. We
shall spare no effort, we shall explore every
avenue; we shall turn every stone, to ensure
the return of the girls to their families and
that the terrorists are defeated.
33. Once again, I wish to thank all participants
for your attendance at this Conference.
34. I am confident that the outcome of our
deliberations will go a long way in assisting us
to address both the immediate challenges and
root causes of Boko Haram insurgency in
order to restore enduring peace and stability,
not just to Nigeria but also to our sub-region.
35. This latest attack is a wake up call for all
of us. A line has been drawn in the sand; a test
is put to each one of us. Nigeria will rise up to
this challenge and will prevail. I call upon each
one of you to stand up and be counted with us
in this fight.
36. I thank you all.
– PREMIUM TIMES