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Goodluck reveals that Nigerian troops now use drones to attack Boko Haram positions

altPRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has expressed optimism that Nigerian troops combating Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast of the country will soon totally expel them as they are now using drones to shell their positions.

Over the last month, government troops have recorded significant success in the fight against Boko Haram since the Multi National Joint Task Force was formed in conjunction with Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic. This regional force has successfully driven Boko Haram out of 10 local government areas in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, leaving the terrorists in just two.

Chadian troops in particular have been very effective in chasing the terrorists out of border towns and villages and their march has been supported by air power. According to President Jonathan, Nigerian troops have now begun using drones to combat the insurgents, which will soon result in the war being won.

President Jonathan said: “We have added the use of drones in the fight against insurgency. We even use it in aerial surveillance to monitor the situation in operational areas."

Candidates of other political parties who all spoke during the recent presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG), also lauded the military’s efforts towards eliminating the terrorists. However, the candidates expressed worry about the safety and whereabouts of the Chibok girls, as there is no report of their location or wellbeing at the moment.

Chief Chekwas Okorie, the presidential candidate of the United Progressives Party, stated that since the Nigerian troops had re-captured territory hitherto controlled by Boko Haram, it was worrisome that the whereabouts of the girls has not been discovered. He added that the Boko-Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, to sell the girls into marriage might have been made good.

Professor Oluremi Sonaiya, the presidential candidate of the Kowa Party, also expressed concern about the location and safety of the abducted girls. She advised the military authorities to protect sources of intelligence reports so as to instil confidence in the citizenry to provide vital information.

Absent from the debate, the main opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said it had been vindicated in its stance of not participating in the presidential campaign debates, saying the NEDG has been compromised. Its director of media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, noted that sordid details coming out about the organisers of the debate would have tainted the APC candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, if he had presented himself to the group.

A civil society body the Value and Integrity Group alleged that a First Bank account opened for the NEDG had the founder of a private television network as sole signatory, even though he is not listed as one of its directors. According to leaders of the Value and Integrity Group, Sina Odugbemi and Popoola Ajayi, an initial deposit of N1m (£3,360) was paid into the said First Bank account and on March 28, 2011, another N20m (£67,000) belonging to the NEDG was paid into the personal account of the said founder of the leading private television network.

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