Nigeria has been hasty in declaring victory over Boko Haram. For the moment, let's continue diligent prosecution of this war.
It may be the saddest piece of news you'll read this week but it's true.
When the terrorists struck Maduguri; the Borno State capital this week, they were serving us a reminder that they are still here.
Adamawa came under Boko Haram attack this week as well.
In December of 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari announced to the world that Boko Haram has finally been defeated.
The news was packaged as a Christmas Day gift to Nigerians by the presidency.
"I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the (Sambisa) Camp fell at about 1:35pm on Friday, December 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide. I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice", Buhari declared.
Months before the president's announcement, government spokespersons like information and culture minister Lai Mohammed told anyone who cared to listen that "Boko Haram has been technically defeated".
In August of 2016, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Tukur Buratai announced the defeat of Boko Haram at the palace of the Gbong Gwom Jos, His Royal Majesty, Da Jacob Gyang Buba.
"The Nigerian Army has not only succeeded in rooting Boko Haram from their camps in the Northeast, we have been able to block these criminal elements from crossing down to these areas or building their camp anywhere in Nigeria", Buratai said.
Addressing newsmen on Sunday, November 20, 2016, in Maiduguri, Borno state, Buratai affirmed that;“It is very clear that the terrorists have been defeated; there are no doubts about it.
“What we are doing now is a mop up operation aimed at ensuring that we clear the rest of them. It is one thing to defeat, and it is another issue for the terrorists to surrender.
“We are working on their final surrender in the remaining enclaves where they are now. And very soon we will achieve that objective.”
On December 27, 2016, this writer joined millions of Nigerians in celebrating the fall of Sambisa forest--that huge expanse of dense vegetation the terrorists have called home since 2009.
In hindsight, that was a little too premature from me.
To be fair, the military has made significant gains in the war against Boko Haram since Buhari replaced Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria's leader in 2015.
The military heads into battle with sophisticated weaponry these days and hundreds of Boko Haram fighters have fallen on their own swords.
Thousands of kidnapped Nigerians have been freed from Boko Haram dungeons by the fighting forces and in many parts of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, folks now head to bed with both eyes closed.
Until this week, Boko Haram has been unable to wage a conventional war against the army. The ragtag terrorist sect has been reduced to launching attacks on soft targets like the cowards they are, by wrapping bombs around bodies of children.
Boko Haram has been unable to seize whole towns and hoist smelly flags in conquered communities like they did for fun in the not too distant past.
However, until Boko Haram is unable to storm towns like they did Maiduguri this week, we haven't defeated them--technically or otherwise.
Until Boko Haram is incapable of deploying starry-eyed suicide bombers across the north every other week, we haven't defeated them in the truest sense of the word.
Let's be honest with ourselves for once.
We still have some way to go before proclaiming victory over Boko Haram. We are definitely on the right path, but we've got to finish these guys off before running our mouths one more time.
For instance, how many times have we 'killed' Abubakar Shekau only to spot the bandoliered, bearded leader of the terrorist sect directing his own video the next day?
How many lives has Shekau got now?
The military and the federal government have done well thus far in the prosecution of this war against a mindless guerrilla fighting force.
But no, we haven't defeated Boko Haram.