Saturday, 15 October 2016

Nigerians React: Jonathan or Buhari, who fought Boko Haram better?

Updated 15 October, 2016
The recent release of the 21 Chibok girls, has raised eyebrows about how former President Goodluck Jonathan went about his fight against the Boko Haram sect. 

Questions have been raised about his determination to rescue the 276 abducted Chibok girls when he was president.

We will now look at how both presidents went about their fight against the Boko Haram sect and their various successes. 

Goodluck Jonathan The kidnap of the 276 Chibok girls happened during Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure in April 2014. 

He, therefore, already carries a large share of the blame. Following the abduction, President Goodluck Jonathan offered an amnesty deal to members of the deadly Boko Haram sect to mark democracy day in Abuja in May, 2014. 

In attendance were the President and his wife, Dame Patience, top government officials, youth groups among others. The amnesty option however did not include swapping detained Boko Haram members for the kidnapped girls. 

The amnesty offer was however refused and in September 2014, Jonathan promised that things would be change for the better. In November 2014, the Boko Haram extremists seized Chibok town and Damask in Borno state, however the Nigerian army took back both towns. 

In February 2015, as the March elections loomed over him, President Jonathan admitted in an interview that he had underestimated the insurgency ,which had ravaged the country for about six years by then. “God willing, we will catch (Abubakar) Shekau before the elections,” he said. 

“We are not saying we must finish Boko Haram to conduct elections, but we should get to a point where they will not cause havoc if they make an attempt,” he said in the interview. 

“My belief is that by 28th of next month, when the elections will be conducted, Boko Haram may not even be in a position to attack any town, God willing,” he concluded. 

However, the bombings and killings by the sect continued and none of the Chibok girls were rescued or released before the elections. However it is important to note that the Nigerian army recorded some successes in April, 2015 capturing some key members of the sect. 

On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the army rescued about 300 women (these included 200 girls and 93 women) from Sambisa Forest, which served as the den of the terrorists group and said they would be screened to determine if the abducted Chibok girls were among those rescued. 

On April 29, 2015, the military said several field commanders of Boko Haram terrorists group had been killed in an attack carried out inside Sambisa forest. 

Muhammadu Buhari When President Buhari took over in May 2015, one of his promises was to fight the Boko Haram menace to a standstill by December 2015. “There is no doubt that in tackling the insurgency we have a tough and urgent job to do. 

But I assure you that Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas. We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism,” he promised. 

In June 2015, there was a double suicide attack in Shetimari in Kaga local government area of Borno state which led to the death of more than 20 terrorists. 

The attack was led by the suicide bombersand was repelled by the Nigerian army. The sect were however not defeated by December 2015. 

According to statistics, the last days of May 2015, following President Buhari’s inaugural speech, saw 97 persons killed and several others injured. In June, July, August, September and October 2015, the sect reportedly killed 368, 635, 431, 267, and 279 persons, respectively. 

But starting from November 2015, the number of persons reportedly killed by the sect dipped with November 2015 recording 81 deaths; December, 136; January 2016, 104; February 2016, 90; March 2016, 26; April 2016, 43; and May 2016, 12. 

In May 2016, Amina Ali is found, and the sect releases more videos of the kidnapped girls taunting President Buhari. In August 2016, the Nigerian army severely decimated the Boko Haram forces and this might have led to the release of the 21 Chibok girls on October 13, 2016. 

It appears that President Buhari has had more success in fighting the Boko Haram scourge, although the conditions under which the 21 Chibok girls were released is not very clear yet.

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