“I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism. The unity and stability of our country and the protection of lives and property are non-negotiable.”
These were the Presidential vows by President Goodluck Jonathan in his Democratic Day speech today, even as he also said that his government is ready to negotiate with members of Boko Haram if they are ready to renounce insurgency.
“My government, while pursuing security measures, will explore all options, including readiness to accept unconditional renunciation of violence by insurgents, and to ensure their de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society. Our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation, if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace.”
President Jonathan said that in the fight against Boko Haram, he had instructed the security forces to launch a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists on Nigeria’s soil.
“I have also authorized the security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that this is done. I assure you that Nigeria will be safe again, and that these thugs will be driven away – it will not happen overnight, but we will spare no effort to achieve this goal.
He called on Nigerians who have joined hands with Al Qaeda and international terrorists in the misguided belief that violence can possibly solve their problems to renounce such behavour.
The President expressed regrets that all the gains of the past 15 years of democratic governance are being threatened by the presence of international terrorism on the nation’s shores, adding: “Our dear country, Nigeria is facing a new challenge. A war has been unleashed on us. Extremist foreign elements, collaborating with some of our misguided citizens, are focused on an attempt to bring down our country and the democracy and freedomwe cherish and celebrate today.
“There can be no doubt that what we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a manifestation of the same warped and ferocious world view that brought down the Twin Towers in New York, killed innocent persons in Boston and led to the murder of defenceless people in the Southern Russian city of Volgograd. Terrorist activities have brought war and pains to Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These agents of evil continue to brainwash and incite ignorant young men and women to attack the innocent. We cannot allow this to continue.”
Jonathan is happy with the solidarity move by those he called “patriotic citizens” and the global community to support of his government’s efforts to stamp out terrorism saying: “I applaud the understanding that in a democracy, such as we are building, people can have differences while sharing worthy values and standing together in opposition to the scourge of terrorism. Nigeria is the only country we have and we must all work to preserve it for present and future generations.”
He urged Nigerians to commend the nation’s security forces in the face of the challenges we face, adding that we must not forget their gallantry and successes in liberating nations and in peacekeeping, from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Congo, Sudan, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and many places in Africa and beyond.
“Our forces have paid the supreme price in several places at several times. Today, they face a different challenge, an unconventional war by terrorists. They are adjusting and are being equipped to tackle the new menace of terrorism. We must show confidence in their ability. I have no doubt that, with the support of Nigerians, our neighbours and the international community, we will reinforce our defence, free our girls and rid Nigeria of terrorists.”
On the abducted female students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state by Boko Haram on April 14, Jonathan described it as horrifying as he reassured Nigerians that his government will continue to do everything possible to bring them back home.
He called on Nigerians to remain united to win the war against terrorism, saying: “Christians, Moslems, farmers, fishermen, herdsmen, teachers, lawyers, clergy or clerics, the rich, the poor and Nigerians from all sections of the country must work together with our security agencies and armed forces to overcome the terrorists who now threaten all that we hold dear.
“The war against terror may be difficult, but the days of peace will come again. Terror is evil; nowhere in history has evil endured forever. The menace of Boko Haram will surely come to an end. I believe that because of your prayers, your courage, hardwork, faith and sacrifice, we will ultimately prevail over the terrorists and all other evil forces.
“We are a strong, resilient and courageous people. We will continue to partner with the civilized world, to confront international terrorism and every other challenge that comes our way with patriotic zeal and determination.” [myad]