President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday, December 25, charged the Service Chiefs to crush the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), which has overtaken Boko Haram in the North-East insurgency before he leaves office in 2023.
Buhari handed down the order at a meeting of the Security Council in Abuja 24 hours after the group rained rockets close to the Maiduguri airport shortly before the President arrived in the city.
Several people were killed by the rockets.
Police Inspector-General, Alkali Baba Usman said some of the masterminds of the attack have been eliminated.
And in his Christmas message, the President told Nigerians to invoke the “indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavoury situations in the nation’s history.”
Buhari wondered why ISWAP insurgents kept striking from the same corridor unchecked and told the Service Chiefs to be prepared to win the war against insurgency before he leaves office.
A top source, who spoke, said the meeting was a “frank appraisal session.”
“No one was happy with how the ISWAP insurgents struck on Thursday and took the shine off Mr. President’s visit.
“The President could not understand the recurring assaults from the same corridor or axis,” the source said.
“We had a similar incident on December 4. And before the President’s visit, a security /intelligence evaluation was done with a caveat that there should be a subsidiary operation to cordon off this axis.
“Yet the insurgents fired rockets from the same axis and targeted the Maiduguri International Airport.
“Although the President did not betray emotions during his visit, he was certainly not happy with the situation of things.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “The President asked the Service Chiefs not to give terrorists; especially the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP); a breathing space. He directed that no inch of Nigerian territory must be occupied by terrorists.
“Also, he warned against the reversal of the gains the military has made. He also sought a more proactive campaign to rout the insurgents, whether Boko Haram or ISWAP.
“He said his administration is prepared to win the war against insurgency.”