President Goodluck Jonathan has assured the international community that the nation’s armed forces would recapture territories held by Boko Haram in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states before the general elections.
The president who spoke while hosting members of the diplomatic community in Nigeria to a cocktail party at the State House, Abuja on Friday, noted the challenge posed by terrorist activities to the nation’s development.
Jonathan explained that the adjustment of the dates of the conduct of election was necessary to provide some reasonable level of security for the smooth implementation of the exercise, saying that the tension that followed the announcement was, therefore, not necessary.
He argued the six weeks period of postponement of the election was not met to wipe out Boko Haram as has been misconstrued in some quarters but for the military to prepare well and modify the security infrastructure.
The president said: “Security reasons were alluded. Some people asked, will Nigeria wipe out Boko Haram within six weeks if in six years they were unable to do so. And I said no.
“The security people are not saying that they will wipe out Boko Haram before elections will be conducted. But there are Boko Haram related security issues and there were other security issues that were noticed during the period of campaigns which if we don’t prepare properly and modify the security architecture we normally use for elections, the country may go up in flames.
“So, the adjustments, yes the Boko Haram issues are there and definitely more states, though for now, three states, are in the enclave of Boko Haram, whereby conducting elections maybe difficult.
“This period will give them the opportunity to clean up the three states. If at all they cannot clean up the three states, at least two states will be recovered completely and more local governments even from the remaining state. So that elections could be conducted even in Borno state.