President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday said the unconventional war declared on Nigeria by the Boko Haram sect since 2009 has so far claimed over 12,000 lives with more than 8,000 persons injured or maimed.
The figure, he said, was apart from the thousands of innocent Nigerians that were displaced during the period.
The President, who spoke at a regional summit on security in Nigeria held in Paris, France, expressed the belief that the terrorists decided to intensify their war against the country because of his administration’s achievements especially in the area of economic growth.
He told participants at the summit convened by the French President, Mr. Francois Hollande, that the clear objective of the sect is to destabilise and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into its operation base in West Africa and the entire continent.
While saying that global terrorist networks like Al Qaeda are deeply involved in the recent activities of Boko Haram, Jonathan made a case for the designation of the sect as a terrorist organisation on the basis of the proscription order that his government had already imposed on the organisation.
While tracing the emergence of the sect to 2002, the President said its insurgency phase did not start until around 2009.
He said what started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria had now evolved into what he called the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against Nigerians’ civilisation, their way of life, and against the many prospects of stability in the region.
Jonathan declared that the sect is no longer a challenge to Nigeria alone but a threat to all those who attended the summit.