Let’s leave Shekau’s death story like that, says Fed Govt


IS Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau dead – as claimed by the Joint Task Force? The question remained knotty yesterday, with Information Minister Labaran Maku saying the issue should not be discussed.

The defunct JTF in Borno State, in a statement on Sunday, claimed that Shekau may have died from gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack in Borno last June.

But the death claim has not been independently verified and the military did not take possession of the body, thereby casting doubts on it.

Yesterday at a news conference after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Maku told reporters when asked about the death of Shekau: “Relating to the story that we have read, I think it is better we leave it at that. These people are on the run and we will allow the military to tell the story.

“The military said that it would appear that in one of their operations, the leader of the insurgent group was mortally wounded and they were rushing him from place to place and they believe that he could indeed be dead.”
Maku added: “What it means is that the security forces are closing in on some of the kingpins of this murderous group that has denied thousands of Nigerians their lives. Some of the key leaders have been pronounced dead. I think that rather than losing confidence, we should continue to pray for the military and continue to hope that in the end they succeed and they are succeeding.”

The minister urged Nigerians not to expect a sudden end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying some countries facing similar terrorists’ attacks have been battling with the menace for many years.

Maku said: “Every operation against a guerrilla-styled insurgency is not something that can be contained overnight. In Iraq, we are still having occasional attacks after the Americans left, just as we are having in Pakistan and other places.”
“The presumption by Nigerians is that the insurgency will end tomorrow. No. We are regaining territories; we are regaining confidence and stability. What the insurgents are doing is to go to remote places and start striking at innocent people, like they did recently at Danboa.”

The minister said the recent activities of the sect: “shows the desperation of these people”. “We must be proud of our security forces. As we clock three months of the state of emergency, the military has just announced the creation of a new division, which means that the operation would further go up from what it is.

“One of the fallouts of the declaration of state of emergency is the increased confidence by members of the public to come out clearly to interface with the security forces in identifying some of the hideouts of the criminals and murderers involved in the terrorist attacks on innocent Nigerians.”
Maku claimed that “economic activities in Borno and Yobe have resumed significantly”.

Also yesterday, FEC ratified three United Nations Conventions on arms trading, hostage taking and terrorism.
Maku said: “Following a memorandum presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, council ratified the Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly on April 2, 2013.”

The treaty will regulate the transfer of conventional arms in order to control access by non-state actors.
Maku said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), also brought a memo to council for the ratification of the two other UN conventions.

The conventions are: UN Convention against Taking of Hostages adopted in December 1979, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorists Bombings, adopted December in 1997.
“In order to attain and maintain global standards, the council approved the ratification/accession to the two conventions.
“The council also directed the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice to prepare the instruments of the ratification/accession of the two conventions,” he said.
The two conventions are aimed at containing the incidence of hostage taking and the heinous crime of bombings by terrorists.


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