Boko haram, kidnapping, banditry: Mistakes Nigeria made – Expert

A Professor of African Studies at the King’ s College, London, Abiodun Alao, Tuesday blamed the lingering insecurity challenges occasioned by Boko Haram  on the failure of the federal government to capitalise on the weakness of the sect.

He also warned that kidnapping ” is getting to an epidemic proportion” inspite of huge spending on the military,  because of some factors including globalisation.

Alao, an expert in war studies and programme director at the African leadership centre,School of Global Affairs,and Chair African community of practice, King’s college, stated this in his convocation lecture delivered to the 34th convocation lecture of the university of Ilorin.

The title of his lecture is” Issues and thoughts on  securing Nigeria”.

The convocation lecturer in his lecture highlighted and proffered solutions to four main security changes confronting Nigeria which he subtitled ;”The wave of Kidnapping” , The Boko haram issue”, The hardsmen controversy and Human capital development and Nigeria’s security”.

He said the Boko haram insurgency had lingered on among other reasons, because successive governments and the oppositions in Nigeria failed to address the fundamental issues.

“Wether we want to admit it or not ,we have exploited the occurrence for political motives, with successive governments and oppositions using the crisis to score cheap political points instead of concentrating efforts at addressing it Successive governments and oppositions are using are looking at the problem from the perspective of “who is wrong”,rather than “what is wrong”. While the blame game continued Boko Haram got stronger,more sophisticated and embedded itself” he said.

He added “truly there have been enough in-fighting within the Boko Haram with (inherent opportunities ) that Nigeria could have and should have have exploited to penetrate and further weaken the group.Those of us who are studying the group can point out to at least two major infightings that could have been exploited.”

On the issue of kidnapping ,the university teacher ,said the criminal act festered on because globalisation has “made Nigerian society more cashless” thereby reducing physical movement of cash which had hitherto made armed robbery a profitable hence the resort to kidnapping.

“Secondly our bushes and farmlands have become ungoverned” spaces, especially in the south west. This has made them safe haven for criminals” among others.

While charging Nigeria government to learn from other countries who had similar experiences, the convocation lecturer particularly draw an example of how Sri Lanka overcame the more dreadful Tami Tigers which was her own experience of insurgency.

This,he said was achieved by Sri Lanka through change of strategy after 25 years of civil war , exploiting the insurgents weaknesses by recruiting more men to its armed forces and as well adopting political solutions.

“After 22 years of civil war and of failures of successive Sri Lanka, a new  governments, a new government was elected in 2005 that changed the strategic objective that matched the insurgents’ principal weakness while negotiating their strengths”.

He said the security challenges in the country would continue if government continue to spend heavily on the military in the name of addressing security at the detriment of other social issues.

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