Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman, has said that Boko Haram still poses a challenge to the Nigerian state because the insurgents are more advanced than the government.
The Federal Government had boasted saying it had defeated Boko Haram and confined it to the fringes of the Lake Chad.
However, making a U-turn while speaking on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television on Monday, Shehu said: “I can’t promise you that Boko Haram will or will not be eradicated but it is an ongoing challenge globally even in the more advanced, more weaponized nations, it is still a challenge.
“I am happy that there is a realization that there is shifting ground. When the president came in in 2015, the big issue was Boko Haram. Boko Haram has faded away, it is on the way out but new challenges have arisen. You have mentioned banditry and kidnappings and these ones are being tackled.
“Recent successes have been recorded, look at what for instance, the police are doing, operation Puff Adder that they launched. They have netted in over 150 suspected kidnappers and bandits and they have recovered huge quantities of weapons, guns, surprisingly, locally made semi-automatic weapons, revolvers that have multiple cartridges in Anambra, Plateau, and Zamfara.
“The attacks you just mentioned is still a far cry from those attacks that we had seen in the past. They are being pushed away farther from the national population. We had mentioned this thing about cheap availability of weapons in the country and across borders.
“As it is now, our security services are coming to terms with the fact that that is one area they have to tackle. The source of weapons whether locally manufactured or brought from abroad has to be tackled otherwise, it is like oxygen to crime.
“They will replenish because these things are readily available. Government has identified local manufacturers and seized weapons. Government is also internationalizing this campaign.”