The support given to Nigeria by the United States of America has made a great difference in the country’s efforts to stamp out terrorism within its borders, President Muhammadu Buhari said this week.
Meeting Friday in New York with Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of America to the United Nations, the President said America’s support serves as a morale booster to the military and people of Nigeria in general.
In May 2014, the U.S. Department of Defence deployed 12 active-duty U.S. soldiers to Nigeria to train a 650-man Nigerian ranger battalion for combat operations that would presumably be free of the taint of human rights violations. This was the first time in years that the United States trained Nigerian military units for operations other than peace keeping missions.
And, with the supply of Super Tucano aircraft purchased from America, and other helicopters on the way, the President said ending the security challenges in Nigeria is now only a matter of time.
Thank God, it’s just a matter of time to end armed terrorism in the country. Insecurity and terrorism have been major challenges to the Nigerian government and people in recent times.
The activities of Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers have led to loss of lives and property in the country. Some of these activities include bombing, suicide bomb attacks, sporadic shooting of unarmed and innocent citizens, e.t.c.
These developments have implications for the growth of the Nigerian economy as terrorism and insecurity impact negatively on economic development. These twin evils have made government to divert resources meant for development purposes to security while Nigeria has been included among countries of the world where terrorism thrive.
Many lives and property have been lost and a large number of citizens rendered homeless.
Families have lost their loved ones. Many women are now widows. Children become orphans with no hope of the future.
Government has made frantic effort to tackle these challenges posed by terrorism and insecurity in the country and put an end to the problems but the rate of terrorism and insecurity still remain alarming.
It is, therefore, better if the government faces terrorists, bandits and kidnappers head-on and seek assistance/advice from international communities who have faced similar challenges and were able to tackle them. The Nigerian military should be empowered in all ways possible to fight terrorism, and the government should also beef up security in all parts of the country.
‘We’re winning against insecurity’
With terrorism as the topical and disturbing issue in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, expectedly held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of The Netherlands, His Excellency Mark Rutte, at the sidelines of the just-concluded 76th UN General Assembly in New York, USA.
“We are preoccupied with security and we are getting somewhere,” in the nation’s efforts to win the fight against terrorism, the President said.
According to the President, the North-East and the South-South, which used to be the hotbeds of criminality, are stabilising, while efforts are on to restore calm to the North-West, North-Central and other restive areas.
Terrorism is an insidious act common and conducted daily over decades and has been responsible for the physical and or structural violence experienced by many people in Nigeria. Terrorism has suddenly become a serious challenge Nigeria has been grappling with.
The contemporary Nigeria society is engulfed by terrible acts of Terrorism. Be it kidnapping by the Niger Delta Militants in the South-South or bomb attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect in the North-East.
These acts of terrorism have seriously caused untold hardship to the Nigerian populace. The haemorrhagic acts of the Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants in Nigeria had better be imagined than told. For the Nigerian nation, the threat of the terrorist activities of Boko Haram has brought to the front-burner issues of core interests of national security in her foreign policy with her immediate neighbours.
In recent times in Nigeria there had been several killings of innocent civilians by the Boko Haram sect most especially targeted killings of police and army security forces, kidnapping of school children and bombing of police stations and places of worships.
The insecurity situation has worsened since 2012 with the Nigerian government admitting that its security forces intercepted over 200 rocket launchers and rocket propelled grenades from terrorist gangs at the Nigeria borders with Chad and Niger Republic around June 2012.
The new weapons which are explosive projectile arms deployed to attack targets from long ranges are expected to replace the Improvised Explosive Devices used by the Islamic Boko
Haram insurgents in Nigeria, and it is believed by Nigeria’s security agencies that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, with the collaboration of terrorists in Iran, Yemen and Syria, were supplying the weapons to the terrorists in Nigeria.
In fact, Nigeria, the upsurge of terrorism engineered by Boko Haram poses grave security challenges to the nation and summons on the part of the law and security agencies a synergy of strategies to combat the situation.
Since 2009, Boko Haram terrorists, and now the bandits and kidnappers, have created a state of palpable fear in Nigeria and beyond, while the efforts of the governments and security forces appear less pleasing to Nigerians. Currently, Nigeria faces security and developmental dilemma with the crucible of terrorism.
However, while it is true that the fight against crimes that made up the hub of insecurity in the country is not an easy task, we are all aware of that the President is making frantic efforts to bring all forms of criminality to an end.
After all, it was through the determined effort of the present administration that some parts of Nigerian territory annexed by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East of the country were liberated.
Currently, due to the sustained campaign against insurgency, the Boko Haram militia operating in the North-East have been dislodged and the group technically defeated.
The rising incidents of armed banditry, kidnapping, oil pipe line vandalism and other criminal activities are being confronted by the police through the operation PUFF ADDER.
Still, the government needs to do better. To think, as some people allude to, that there are people in government who, unlike the President, lack the political will to fight insecurity does not help the situation.
Similarly, some military leaders have been accused of nepotism and of giving away vital details to compromise the onslaught against the terror gangs. The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, recently accused the military of sabotage in an attack on his convoy.
The second thing which the government must deal with is corruption. Since 2014, some senior soldiers and their civilian counterparts directing the war have come to see the war budget as an endless means to draw money for personal enrichment.
The allegations of counter-terrorism or so-called counter-insurgency funds stolen by some senior security personnel should be looked into and appropriate action be taken against guilty officers.
The recent rise in banditry and demonstrations against it show that the people can no longer accept the circumstances. Boko Haram, Islamic State, bandits and kidnap gangs are threats to Nigeria’s peace, stability, security and economic prosperity. Everyone wants them stopped.
Government has the responsibility to provide genuine leadership in the direction of how to stop that. Agreed, it’s only the armed forces that have the arsenals and training to fight armed criminals but Nigerians must support them. To this end, Nigerians, as a matter of national service and good citizenship, should rise and support the efforts of the President and security personnel to achieve the vision of a new Nigeria where the full potentials of every Nigerian will be achieved.
Corruption must be fought and conquered. The governor of Borno state once accused soldiers of extorting money from motorists where Boko Haram has a strong presence. Such practices – as well as instances of compromised military intelligence – are a big problem the military high command must stop.