Some prominent politicians are presently being interrogated following discovery of their identity cards in terrorists’ camps destroyed inside the Balmo Forest in Bauchi State last week.
Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC) Mr. Mike Omeri told reports in Abuja on Wednesday during the regular briefing by members of the Centre on efforts to fight terror in the country and find the over 200 Chibok secondary school girls abducted since April 14this year.
Omeri said “following the last successful operatios carried out by security forces to dislodge terrorists from their forest bases in Darazo Local Government Area end of Balmo Forest, some politicians are currently being investigated following their link with activities in the forest.
“The politicians are being interrogated following the recovery of some sensitive registration cards and other materials of a prominent political party that were found in the possession of some of the suspects arrested.
“Those who are being interrogated are prominent politicians belonging to a frontline political party. Troops even recovered the identity cards of some of the politicians,” Omeri declared.
Omeri also decried activities of some organisations and individuals championing the cause of the abducted girls, which he said were aiding insurgency in the country.
“Some of these groups are augmenting and supplementing terrorists by their activities because they create diversion for security operatives from promptly responding to insurgent activities then you are creating your own problems.”
Responding to a question, Army Spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade insisted that the military and other security agencies were getting results in their fight against terror.”
He noted that arrests of terrorists and their backers being made regularly were indicative of such results which should be encouraging to all Nigerians.
“Nigerians should be assured that there is hope of finding and bringing back the girls, there is hope that the terrorists will be defeated and good progress is being made. We told you earlier that over 250 sorties flown while the President (Goodluck Jonathan) once announced that over 20,000 troops have been deployed.”
Also answering a question, Spokesperson for the Department of State Security Services (DSS) Marilyn Ogar accused the BringBackOurGirls campaigners of turning the issue into a franchise.
“Bring Back Our Girls Movement has become a franchise and security forces know what they are up to. If it is an ordinary movement seeking to pile pressure on government or security agencies to release these girls, there will be no need for the group to begin to have tags, insisting that you must have a tag and be properly registered (to be part of them).
“Security forces also know that they have bank accounts; we also know that they want to go to Asokoro Extension and simulate some false movements where they will have some foreign media to say that they are marching inside Sambisa and Chibok; They want to simulate a protest march inside Asokoro Extension in Abuja and claim that they were doing so inside Sambisa Forest to be reported in some foreign media; we also know that they brought in some experts from outside the country to come and teach them on how to beat security onslaught when they are demonstrating; to withstand police teargas and security operations. We are waiting to see when these things would work. We also know that they are dividing themselves into groups and zones giving each other specific assignments.
“They were also paying courtesy calls to money bags to solicit support. If it’s a genuine struggle, then it must be done transparently. There will be no need for you to ask people to register to know who is a member or who is not. It is getting very ridiculous but we are still watching and hope that genuinely, there is no need to hire people to come and claim that they have children among the girls that were abducted. So now we now that it has become a franchise and we know.
“I also want to ask that if it is not a franchise, why would those involved in the movement decide to carry out smear campaign against certain government officials. If we have to fight for our rights, let us genuinely fight for our rights by being more transparent. We also know that they run bank accounts; that they visit prominent people to solicit for funds; funds for what?”, an angry Ogar retorted.
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