Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has told his national security adviser to put an end to Boko Haram before the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.
The president turned up the heat on Sambo Dasuki within days of him taking up his post as security adviser. Jonathan has effectively given the new security chief three weeks to end the Boko Haram menace.
The militant Islamist sect has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile attacks against churches, newspapers, government officials and security forces in northern Nigeria. The group wants to impose Sharia law across the country and has accused the government and senior officials of corruption.
Dasuki visited community, religious and tribal leaders following his appointment. In Yobe state, one of the areas hardest hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, Dasuki said he had been urged by the president to stop the violence before the Muslim holy month which this year starts on 21 July.
"The concern of the president is that we are approaching Ramadan and he does not want the Umma [Islamic community] to observe Ramadan under this crisis," the Nigerian Nation newspaper quoted him saying.
Although sympathetic to demands for better infrastructure and more jobs in Yobe state, the government's priority remained to stop the bloodshed, he said.
"I know some of the complaints, like unemployment and lack of development etc. All these things will not come unless there is peace," he explained.
"The federal government will not build roads in Yobe unless contractors come and contractors will not come if their lives are not safe.
"Unless we stop the violence, we cannot start development. Unless we start development, we cannot start generating jobs. So there will be unemployment, which means there will always be recruits for whoever is doing this."