President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, spoke tough as he vowed that no expense will be spared to ensure that members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, responsible for the wanton destruction of lives and property pay dearly for their atrocities.
The President, who spoke at the 4th annual presidential breakfast prayer held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, said: “No matter what government does, we cannot recover the dead, but our promise is that all those who took part in that will pay dearly for it.”
He said the annual presidential prayer session was held in honour of victims of Boko Haram attacks and their families.
The President spoke on a day Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako dismissed the claim that he was condemned at last Thursday’s National Security Council meeting, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, over his letter to northern governors, alleging genocide in the North against the Federal Government.
“Government is offering all assistance to support the affected families as security agencies work tirelessly to unravel the scourge of this evil and to forestall further senseless desecration of our homeland,”Jonathan stated.
“And, of course, no matter what the government does, we cannot recover the dead but one thing we promise is that all those who took part in that act will surely pay for it. We must all come together and have faith to combat the ignorance and intolerance of criminals”, he stressed.
According to the President, Nigerians’ love for their country gives him hope and encouragement to do more for the good of Nigeria.
“I urge you not to relent in your prayers and dedication because overcoming the present challenges we face may look impossible with men, but, with God, all things are possible. This is clearly seen in the scriptures and this is my article of faith. And, of course, this is one of the things that make me smile whenever you see me.”
He was optimistic Nigeria will overcome terrorism and “with these strides of development which the country is undergoing in many sectors, we will not be slowed down”. Jonathan added: “We must all increase our vigilance and alertness as well as cooperation and understanding to our men in uniform who are at the forefront on our behalf”.
In his remarks at the occasion, visiting President of Benin Republic, Boni Yayi, asked God to forgive those who abducted school girls in a school in Chibok, Borno State.
He emphasised that his country, West Africa and Africa stand by Nigeria because the country has a divine mission in the sub- region and the continent.
While stressing the importance of peace and stability, Yayi said Nigeria does not need Boko Haram.
Welcoming guests, Venerable Obioma Onwuizurumba, chaplain of the Aso Rock Chapel, explained that the breakfast was organised to celebrate Easter, the goodness of past years and ask God for more grace for the country ahead.
Professor Vincent Anigbogu, Director-General of the National Institute for Transformation and guest speaker at the event, urged Jonathan not to be distracted by the threats to nation-building.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyako of Adamawa State has vehemently denied that he was unanimously condemned during the National Security Council meeting which took place, Thursday, in Abuja, over his letter to northern governors, alleging genocide in the North against the Federal Government, saying the statement could only come from pathological liars.
Nyako, responding to a question during an interview with journalists, in Yola, Adamawa State capital, yesterday, said he was never condemned by anyone during the meeting.
“Neither my humble self nor my letter to northern governors was condemned. People made observations but nobody came out to ask why or how did I reach my conclusion and all that.
“Mr. President allowed everybody to speak, asked for comments and we were allowed to read the papers again and asked for comments and nobody condemned me for writing such a letter. For people to say that my letter was condemned was all nonsense,” Nyako stated.
He lauded Jonathan who, he said, presided over the Thursday meeting with decorum and allowed everyone to ventilate his opinion freely.
“Mr. President, to me, was really superb with the way he handled the Security Council meeting. He bore no anger, no sign of getting too involved and allowed everybody to speak and nobody condemned me for writing that letter. This is a democratic country and we are free to speak”, Nyako added.
The governor faulted the deployment of the military to curb insurgency in the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, saying history had shown that the involvement of the military to contain internal security situation always results in massive casualties and, as such, many countries had stopped the use of the military to contain internal security challenges.
He said knowing the implication of military involvement in internal security challenges, former Military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, refused to send the military to contain violent bloodletting during Zangon Kataf uprising and also failed to involve the military during the civil crisis that rocked Taraba State.