In the bid to end the reign of terror in the North-Eastern part of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan has increased the number of troops in the region from 15,000 to 20,000.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who disclosed this in a lecture delivered at a forum in London also confirmed that Boko Haram has killed more than 170 teachers in Borno this year. The text of the lecture was made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Friday.
The minister also disclosed that the nation loses more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day to international oil thieves working in alliance with criminal elements in Nigeria.
She said, “First on security, our military men and women are confronting an unprecedented challenge with courage and bravery. The president recently increased the number of troops that are in the North- East from 15,000 to 20,000.
“Regional cooperation on security has got better following a decision by neighbouring countries Chad, Cameroon, Benin, and Niger, to each contribute a battalion of soldiers, to fight Boko Haram alongside Nigeria.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted offers from the international community for more surveillance, aircraft cover, and equipment that enhances our ability to locate, fight and root out insurgents.
“These efforts are beginning to make a difference and the tide is now turning. Not too long ago, the leader of the Boko Haram cell thought to have masterminded the kidnap of the Chibok girls was arrested.”
The minister said the terrorist sect’s key objective was to destroy formal or western education in Nigeria.
Buttressing this, she said, “This year alone, we know that Boko Haram has murdered over 170 teachers in Borno State, and an estimated 300 educational facilities have been destroyed in the three most affected states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, including 80 primary schools in Borno State alone.
“Over a thousand Nigerians have lost their lives to these insurgents this year. We have not forgotten our Chibok girls and the government continues to search for avenues to bring our girls back alive.”
The minister who spoke extensively on efforts by the government to sustain economic growth which the nation has been witnessing regretted that the nation loses more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day to oil thieves.
Lamenting the devastating effects of corruption, Okonjo-Iweala said through the employment of Information Technology, the government had weeded 53,000 ghost workers and pensioners from the government payroll.