By Dipo Olowookere
Amidst reactions to the recent attack on a military base in Metele, Borno State, by the Boko Haram insurgents, which led to the death of unspecified number of Nigerian soldiers, a group known as Coalition of Civil Society Groups against Terrorism in Nigeria has condemned the attack on the military base by the insurgents.
In a statement issued by the group, it also called for caution, especially from politicians who are already exploiting the unfortunate incident, to score political points.
In the statement issued in Lagos on Saturday and jointly signed by its Convener and Registrar, Comrade Odeyemi Oladimeji and Atani John respectively, the group commiserated with the immediate families of the fallen heroes and the Nigerian Army, saying the ultimate sacrifices they have made in keeping citizens safe shall never be forgotten.
It also said it has no doubt that the sudden escalation of attacks targeting military formations in the Northeast was targeted at presenting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light, particularly as Nigeria prepares for the 2019 General elections.
“The recent attacks can be clearly linked to the quest by these criminal elements, who have now actively engaged their international partners to build up their armoury, having earlier been seriously decimated by the Nigerian Army, while also creating an atmosphere of fear for the citizens, who are now returning in numbers to their ancestral homes after series of mop up operations by the Nigerian military,” the group said in the statement.
“It is therefore our patriotic view that Nigerians particularly in the social media, should not be deceived by the antics of some desperate politicians, who are already making political capital out of the plight of our military, who are fighting day and night to win the war on terrorism.
“They must not be oblivious of the fact that these attacks on our military will be exploited by politicians desperate to win elections.
“We see these attacks by these criminal elements in the society as deliberate attempts to not only test the strength of our security personnel but also ostensibly as a means of testing the waters for a more sinister objective ahead of 2019 elections,” the statement added.
The group further said what the service chiefs and the entire security agencies in Nigeria require is the prayers and encouragement of Nigerians, particularly leaders of thought and politicians across political divides, and not an exploitation of the callous activities of ISWAP/Boko Haram to demoralize the service chiefs and the gallant troops or any mischievous call for the sack of the service chiefs.
The statement also said everyone must rise to condemn the trend, where politicians and some ethnic champions try to embolden these criminals by questioning the competence of the military commanders as such conducts remain unpatriotic.
The statement also called for an urgent synergy among the Nigerian government and its neighbours in Niger Republic, Chad and Cameron, as investigation has shown that these insurgents are coming into Nigeria through the fringes of these countries.
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