President Muhammadu Buhari said in his New Year message to Nigerians: “I commend our Armed Forces for significantly curtailing the insurgency which has ravaged the northeast of Nigeria over the past few years.
“However, there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of security. Our Armed Forces will maintain, consolidate and build on their successes in the war against Boko Haram and violent extremism. This government will not consider the matter concluded until the terrorists have been completely routed and normalcy restored to all parts of the country that have been adversely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this statement, apart from the fact that it is quite different from the one he made to the BBC just before Christmas in which he claimed that Boko Haram were “technically” defeated.
That comment generated a lot of heat, especially after the insurgents two days later first attacked the outskirts of Maiduguri in three trucks with rocket-propelled grenades, then there were suicide bomb attacks in the city and in Adamawa State, with as many as 50 dead.
It is good to see that the president has faced reality and tactically withdrawn from his “technical” victory statement.