2014 and 2015, Boko Haram became the deadliest terror group on earth and was operationally active in no less than 15 Nigerian states.
Today, Boko Haram is only operational in Borno State, with very isolated cases in Yobe and Adamawa. There were no Boko Haram attacks outside these three areas for the most part of 2016.
And in April this year, the Nigerian security succeeded in arresting Khalid Albarnawi, the third most wanted BH leader and by far it is most shrewd and experienced commander.
Even in Borno, BH attacks are being repelled successfully and cases of BH over-running Nigerian military bases are no longer the norm. Overall, 2016 recorded the lowest BH attacks since 2012.
These are hard, incontrovertible facts of Nigerian military’s successes over Boko Haram. Therefore, the Nigerian military does not need to stage a Sambisa capture to drive this home as some misguided, self-hating Nigerians are shamelessly promoting.
The fact that Nigerians now move around the country without the fear of Boko Haram attacks says it all, Boko Haram has been severely degraded and no amount of Shekau videos will reverse this reality.
There are isolated setbacks no doubt, as is natural in the course of every victory. But what the Nigerian military achieved in 2016 is unprecedented. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Syria to Egypt, no military force succeeds in rolling back the wheels of terrorism the way we did in 2016 alone, and we still believe more could still be achieved with more funding, better equipment and improved strategy.
Both the FG and the Nigerian military acknowledged that the war does not end with the capture of Sambisa. It is only a milestone in the journey towards ridding Nigeria of terrorism in all its manifestations. Even the death of Shekau cannot translate to outright Nigerian victory.
Differences in opinion are healthy in every democracy, and neither the Nigerian government nor its military is above criticism. What is unacceptable is for someone to be singing Shekau’s propaganda in order to spite the Nigerian government and military.
Across the world, counterterrorism legislations are unanimous in classifying acts of promoting terrorist propaganda as material support for terrorism. No self-respecting citizen will support the triumph of terror groups against his country just because of hatred for the government in power.
Like Chibok deniers before them, the Sambisa deniers are in for a terrible disappointment. Even in the absence of any military force, Boko Haram will never win in the long run because its murderous ideology is incompatible with the history, identity and vision of the people it is fighting to rule.”
–Ahmed Musa Husaini