Despite a recent attack by terrorist group, Boko Haram, that led to the reported death of over 100 soldiers in Borno State, the presidency has insisted that the group remains technically defeated.
Even though President Muhammadu Buhari declared in 2015 that Boko Haram had been technically defeated, the group has carried out several deadly attacks since then, with an increase in the number of attacks on troops happening in 2018.
In its latest attack, terrorists overran the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele during an attack on Sunday, November 18, 2018, carting away large cache of arms and military equipment after leaving the base strewn with the corpses of dozens of soldiers.
An account by a soldier who survived the attack noted that their location was invaded after Boko Haram allegedly issued a threat letter that it would soon take over four strategic military locations around the Lake Chad region.
Even though several reports have indicated that the number of troops casualties might be as high as over 100, the Army has failed to release an official figure even though it dismissed the figures.
While speaking about the recent attack during an interview on Channels Television on Sunday, November 25, 2018, President Buhari's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the attack does not mean that the terrorists are back in charge.
He noted that the recent attack was a breach that doesn't mean the war has tipped in the favour of the terrorists.
He said, "Nigeria, we can say, is at war in that side of the country. For some time, things had eased, Nigerian Army had had the upper hand; and like the term goes, the insurgents had been technically defeated.
"But then, there's this sudden upsurge and there's that casualty figure which I do not know but which people say is on the high side. The military is the one that can tell us what actually happened."
When quizzed over if the statement that Boko Haram has been technically defeated remains accurate, Adesina replied, "I believe so. That (the recent attack) was maybe a breach in security but it does not mean that Boko Haram is having the upper hand.
"And like the president said in the statement we issued yesterday, we will still get to the end of this Boko Haram insurgency."
"This is one isolated case after a long time of the military being in charge. The military has been in charge for a long while. I agree with you this is a breach; it is sad and it is unfortunate but then, it does not mean that Boko Haram is now in charge. They are not," he later added.
In light of the criticism that has trailed the killing of the soldiers, President Buhari warned against politicising the incident in a statement on Sunday. He promised that the circumstances surrounding the Metele attack will be comprehensively addressed.