The Coalition of Civil Society Groups against Terrorism in Nigeria, an umbrella body of civil society groups, has berated the position of the European Union Parliament, which is the legislative branch of the European Union, on the war against Boko Haram in the country.
Addressing newsmen on Monday during a press conference in Lagos, the Convener of the coalition, Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi, said the report of the EU parliament is antithetical to the reality on ground in the former war zones in the Northeast.
This is just as the coalition gave a vote-of-confidence to the leadership of the Nigerian Army led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, for a diligent prosecution of the war against terrorism, banditry and other security challenges in the country.
The EU parliament had in a report published on some online media said there was no progress in the fight against the insurgents.
The EU parliament said, “Terrorist attacks which have taken place in the country; reiterates its concern about the protracted crisis in Nigeria and the volatile security situation in the North-East, and strongly condemns the repeated violations of human rights, international and humanitarian law, whether based on religion or ethnicity.”
The union also said progress has stalled in the fight against Boko Haram, ISWAP and the increased occurrence and severity of suicide attacks and direct attacks against military positions.
But faulting the position of the EU parliament, the anti-insurgency Coalition insists that the country’s security agencies especially the Army under Lt. Gen. Buratai, has made incredible feat in the battle against terrorism in the north east and Nigeria at large, stating that the verdict of the EU parliament does not represent the true picture of things in the Northeast.
According to Odeyemi, the allegations of increased attacks, disrespect for human rights and non-protection of civilian population from terrorism and violence in the northeast, are unfounded.
He said: “I think we need to agree that it’s not every position or statement about the insurgency in the Northeast that is objective or a true reflection of what is happening; in that regards, not every view should be taken as a true picture of what is going on in the North East and other parts of the country.
“You only need to contrast what we have now in the northeast with what was happening pre-2015 before this administration came in and you will agree with me that we have made a lot of progress”.
Remember that it was in this same country that the Boko Haram terrorists extended their operations beyond the frontiers of the North East region where they were controlling almost 15 Local Government Areas to the extent that even our Federal Capital, Abuja, became a centre of coordinated attacks and everywhere in the country became enveloped with fear. But today, the case is different, except few isolated attacks on some soft targets.
While stating that insecurity has been largely tamed in the Northeast and Northwest due to the efforts of the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, he said that the recent isolated attacks are from the displaced terrorists.
“The truth which we must remind ourselves is that when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came into office, Boko Haram was actively in control of at least 14 Local governments in three States of the North East.
” But today, the story has changed as the Nigerian Army led by General Tukur Buratai has not only decimated the insurgents, they have also been able to retrieved all local governments from them and as we speak, no part of Nigerian territory is under the control of the Boko Haram.”
While calling on the European parliament and some other ” interested parties” to ensure that it replicates the true state of things in the Northeast and other parts of the Country, he noted that comments and sensational news headlines that have the potential of lowering the morals of the gallant officers on the battlefield should be condemned regardless of where it is coming from.