Recently, the convoy of Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno state was allegedly attacked on by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram in the North-east part of the country. The convoy of the governor came under heavy attack such that the governor had to be smuggled into a Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad’s armoured personnel carrier while the attack was being repelled. One can imagine the severity of that bloody encounter involving the chief executive of a state!
Before the attack, the governor had vowed that said he cannot be silent in the midst of killings by terrorists. He stated this position on the premise that he had entered a covenant with God to defend the people by the oath he took, saying “Our people need to be provided safe access to farmlands so they can earn livelihoods. The military needs to ensure this happens and I will continue to raise this. There is sabotage in the system that will not allow the insurgency to end. The (Nigerian) president has to know this important point. I repeat, there is sabotage in the system. Therefore, the president needs to examine the current security situation in the region with a view to resolving it in a sustainable manner”, Gov. Zulum added.
Prior to the latest attack on the governor, terrorists had overrun military posts by killing soldiers, other security officers and civilians involving not less than two battalion commanders in which several soldiers that had gone missing in action. It is on record that the insurgents had similarly attacked the task force battalion with high casualty and seizure of security equipment worth millions of naira. Over the years, there have been reported cases of low morale, poorly equipped and lack of timely reinforcements of troops under attack in addition to the suspected infiltration of political influence to the protracted violence making the crisis more complex to tackle.
Series of complaints and perceived injustice have been reported in the management of security agencies in Nigeria. To ensure that no stone is unturned and all options given the possibility of making the desired impact, security agencies should ensure that proper investigations and complaints of troops are conducted and to desist from routinely dismissing allegations of diversion of funds and allowances, weaponry and poor welfare of personnel is revisited across the country. As obtainable in other climes, the government should not shy away from seeking help from other nations because security is a collective responsibility that works better when there is collaboration between the government and the people. What works for other countries can be adapted for local use.
Politics and religious sentiments would not do the nation any good. Rather, professionalism should always be the watchword. Security business should be completely isolated from undue religious, tribal and political influence. Effective counter-insurgency should be taken into consideration in the scheme of things to accommodate changing trends. Another issue worth revisiting is the persistent call for the replacement of security chiefs. No doubt, this piece of advice is worth considering at this time around when many people feel that the continued keeping of the current leadership is not helpful. The truth is that there are actually other several qualified, competent and sound officers in the armed forces that can discharge such duties much better. The continued keeping of the security chiefs in office may indeed be counter-productive. There is urgent need for the government to take a decisive action in restoring normalcy into the polity by revisiting the continued retaining of the security chiefs in office.
Another area worth due attention is the deplorable plight of internally-displaced persons (IDPs). There is need for more attention to be accorded these forgotten groups of people in the country. It is worrisome that many of the victims are innocent widows, orphans and others suffering from of Boko Haram attacks that have been left to their fate. Some days ago, the federal government announced that repentant Boko Haram insurgents, who had completed the de-radicalisation programme, would be reintegrated into communities. The argument is, why would the state forgive fighters and be integrated back into the society when the victims of their attacks be allowed to suffer endlessly?
Without further delay, the government should deploy more effective way of tackling insurgency bearing in mind that insurgency is not fought through only war and confrontation alone. There are other windows through which insurgency could be tackled. The use of intelligence is pro-active and useful in the task of restoring sanity, peace and life into the polity. Boko Haram fighters should have a change of heart in their continued and senseless onslaught on the people and state. Sustained efforts should be deployed to ending the insurgency without shedding more innocent blood. The attack on the Borno state governor should offer an opportunity for all parties to reflect deeply on how to end the violence. The government should take the allegation of Gov. Zulum serious suggesting that there is sabotage in the security system. Tackling our security challenge requires robust tact, unwavering sincerity of purpose, and utmost commitment.