The Nigerian Online Newspaper

Jonathan believed Boko Haram was sponsored to remove him — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why the war against the Boko Haram insurgency has remained intractable, noting that the country needed to treat the root of the problem and not the symptoms.
Speaking in an interview with the BBC in Lagos, Obasanjo noted that former President Goodluck Jonathan did not take the insurgency seriously in the belief that the terror group was a device by the North to torpedo his government.
He recalled his visit to Maiduguri, Borno State in 2011 where he learnt about the sect’s grievances, which he took to Jonathan, expecting him to address the issues.
He said: “I went out in 2011 to Maiduguri.
“I took great risk to find out what is really happening.
“Boko Haram, do they have grievances?
“If they have grievances, what are their grievances?
“And I brought all that to Jonathan.
“Jonathan didn’t believe that Boko Haram was a serious issue.
“He thought that it was a device by the North to prevent him from continuing as president of Nigeria, which was rather unfortunate.
“Even when Chibok girls were abducted, it took a while for the government to believe.
“Now if that is the situation, you can understand why the right attention was not paid to the issue of Boko Haram when it should have been paid.”
The former President observed that Boko Haram insurgency might not end soon, noting that it stemmed from underdevelopment, unemployment and youth frustration in the North East.
Obasanjo said: “Boko Haram will not be over.
“It started from a position of gross underdevelopment, unemployment, youth frustration in the North-East.
“So, we must be treating the disease not the symptom.”