Thursday, August 21, 2014

Equip soldiers to fight Boko Haram, Ohanaeze tells FG

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze N’digbo, has asked the Federal Government to empower the security forces to win the war against Boko Haram insurgents by providing them with all the necessary equipment and materials.

The group, noted that the security agencies would be able to perform their responsibilities of defending the nation if given the right materials and resources to achieve their mandate.

The President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary  Enwo-Igariwey, who stated this when he visited the Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, in Abuja on Thursday, explained that the security operatives need the right equipment to protect lives and properties and save the nation from the ravages of terrorists.

The elder statesman, said the visit was to show solidarity and give support to the government’s war efforts, noting the tolls in lives and properties that terrorism had exacted on the country.

He said, “We know the cost in lives and in properties to our people, we are also aware of the efforts our security operatives have been making over time; they have put their lives on the line making sacrifices for our people so that we live, we appreciate their efforts and one can only wish that they do more.

“We are also asking that government should do more in providing all the necessary equipment required to achieve this goal, they must have the right equipment, their morale must be good, because they are fighting for us, so we can’t expect less from them, because when they have the right equipment, they are better able to defend and protect their lives so that they will do service for us another day.”

Enwo-Igariwey observed the loss of  lives and properties all over the country and expressed hope that compensation would be paid to all the victims of Boko Haram attacks nationwide.

He said, “We also know that in the process (of terror attacks), lives and properties have been lost by people from all over the country in the bomb blasts in Abuja and in other  places and we are also hoping that as the country goes ahead in providing compensations for victims that very comprehensive studies be made to make sure that all those who suffered what ever kind of damage both in lives and properties should be appropriately compensated.”

Making references to the Nigerian civil war, the Ohanaeze leader, said that the nation had passed through similar bloodletting experience in the past, noting that the current insurgency which started in the North-East, had snowballed into a major conflict and is threatening to engulf the whole country.

He expressed appreciation for the sacrifice being made by troops and sympathized with families of those who had lost their lives.

Obanikoro his response, commended the Igbos for not relocating from the north in spite of the murderous attacks by insurgents, describing this as a sign of confidence in Nigeria, which he said other Nigerians should emulate.

He described the insecurity in the country as a challenge that the present crop of political leaders must overcome to ensure that all citizens live as equals.

The minister expressed support for the agitation for creation of additional state for the South-East, saying it is an injustice that should be addressed.

Obanikoro said, “As you have rightfully said, the challenge before us today is herculean, to every generation there is always a challenge, our fore-fathers had the challenge of ending colonialism, the next generation had to battle military dictatorship in the country, our own generation has the onerous task of ensuring that we have a peaceful nation where all Nigerians can live as equals.

“I know there are challenges that you brought to the confab, like creating additional states for the south east. It is a matter that I believe must be addressed and I want to say that as Nigerians we must see injustice to one as injustice to all, and until that grey area is eliminated one way or the other we cannot claim to be our brothers’ keeper.”

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