Friday, January 16, 2015

President Jonathan pays surprise visit to Borno

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday paid a surprise visit to Maiduguri, Borno State, one of the three North-Eastern states worst hit by Boko Haram insurgency.

Jonathan embarked on the trip shortly after laying a wreath at the National Arcade, Abuja in commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

The visit — Jonathan's first to Maiduguri since March 2013 — was shrouded in secrecy and came after a previous trip to the restive region in May last year was cancelled.

Jonathan had planned to visit the remote town of Chibok, also in Borno, after Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 girls from their school in a crime that shocked the world.

The cancellation, reportedly for security reasons, dealt Jonathan a further blow in his perceived woeful handling of the kidnapping crisis.

A statement by presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati said the President met with officers and men of the Armed Forces in the frontline of the war against terrorism and insurgency in the country.

At the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army at the Maimalari Cantonment where he met with the officers and men currently in the frontline of the war against terrorism, Jonathan thanked them for their patriotic service to the nation.

He said Nigeria was very proud of them and grateful for their dedication and commitment to the defence of the civilian population against terrorists and violent extremists.

He also assured the troops that the Federal Government will "continue to do everything possible to ensure that they get the weapons, equipment, welfare and logistics support they require" to defeat the insurgents and restore full security and normalcy to affected parts of the country, the statement said.

"In terms of equipment and logistics, we have already made considerable progress since the insurgency started and we will continue to improve in that regard until your operations are successfully concluded," he told the soldiers.

President Jonathan toured the 7 Division Hospital and Medical Services Centre where he met with soldiers recovering from injuries sustained in operations against Boko Haram, and wished them speedy recovery.

Before leaving the Borno State capital, President Jonathan visited over 900 displaced persons from Baga at a camp in the city. The President commiserated with the displaced persons on the losses they suffered during the attack on their town by Boko Haram.

He promised them that the Federal Government will strive to make their stay in the camps more comfortable while it continues to do all within its powers to restore peace and security to enable them return to their homes soon.

He also promised financial assistance to them to enable them rebuild their homes and eventually return to them.

The President thanked the Red Cross and other international organizations that have been assisting in the provision of relief materials to the displaced persons, and charged local, state and federal officials to harmonize their work in support of the displaced persons.

"I do not want to be hearing conflicting reports on support being given to them. Government is one and we must all work together to assist our people whenever the need arises," Mr. Jonathan said.

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