by Hon. Muhammad Ishaku Ganu
Former SSA to Gov. Shettima
I found the above statement to be right and timely. The attack on the nearby town of Magumeri by the terrorists and the statements issued by our most respected spokesperson of the Operation Lafiya Dole has yet again rekindled in me (us) the very questions we usually ask during the hazy and uncertain days of the Jonathan controlled armed forces tagged ‘JTF’ days.
For us in Borno to accuse or even doubt the sincerity of the men of our gallant armed forces fighting to protect us against the insurgency is being unjust to them. We appreciate their sacrifice and heroism.
We also very well know that they too have a family left in uncertainties, lives to enjoy and country to protect. Therefore, it is criminal for anyone to think that the military is doing nothing against the insurgency.
We equally know that the Boko Haram are greatly degraded and the their capacity to overrun any territory is rendered impossible. However, what we know is there are a few cowardly elements who might choose to desert their formation in the event of any attack or even some who for material reasons may decide not to heed any distress call from villagers on sighting the Boko Haram.
All these are possibilities which we may not deny. But for certain the military is not like before and from the ongoing operations in the various units, they are on top of the situation. We thank them for that and will keep on supporting them and always praying for their successes and protection.
However, the statement, that the attackers are from the area and the communities are uncooperative is an overstatement. As we reliably gathered from the villagers nearby, the military were informed of their movement.
If we can recall the recent attacks on Gajiram, one will conveniently agree that sometimes, our officers become reluctant to the extent that, they even forget they were in war front. The military should always be on alert as these beasts were always unpredictable. Since they know that there were no offensive operations, they can decide to take on our formations at will and at a time when our soldiers were relaxed and deal with them the way they did with Mobbar, Gajiram and Damboa.
Therefore, I am calling on the Operation Lafiya Dole high command to always caution their men on their relaxed nature and be always on high alert as there are a substantial number of those boys scampering around scavenging for food and weapons.
Accusing the the people of non cooperative attitude will further increase mistrust and lack of confidence in them. Agreed there may be some of their siblings in Boko Haram, but you very well know that, with Boko Haram, with them, there is no relation of kinship except you agreed with their creed.
The very vital principle generally accepted to security and counter insurgency program in the maintenance of peace and security is to constantly seek for intelligence and work towards it’s effective implementation. However, this vital principle of security management is not forthcoming.
Of importance is also for the Local Governments and traditional institutions to engage in periodic security meetings to discuss security challenges in their respective local governments and domains. These security meetings will greatly help in the provision of information on the whereabouts and movements of the insurgents.
The Magumeri incident was one of several attacks which were reported before it happened. Therefore, shifting blames to the local communities of non collaboration is like burying ourselves in shame and running away from our collective responsibilities.
The Boko Haram insurgents were routed and their capabilities greatly degraded. But the big question is, how successful is the counter insurgency program? Is their any proactive measures taken to pursue the insurgents to their hideouts? Or are our gallant soldiers only wait in their formations to be attacked?
Unless the Syrian and Iraqi approach in counter insurgency is used, these daring attacks will continue. Therefore, our soldiers shouldn’t just relax but must conduct fighting patrols, ambushes and offensive actions to clear the remnants of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the state and in the Northeast.
Equally, the locals must be sensitized on counter insurgency measures of intelligence gathering, reportage of movements and sanctioned in found to be collaborating with the insurgents. Anybody that is found to be selling or buying anything for them should be arrested and dealt with.
On a final note, security is every body’s business and government must ensure effective use of the local community leaders in being alert and active in partnering with the security posted to their areas.
Our people have suffered in the last eight years of the insurgency and wanted to go back to their normal life. However, their fear of the unexpected and the uncertainties surrounding the crisis, they are highly pessimistic about their security and don’t want to risk their lives.
Magumeri was not attacked for once because of providence, and there may be some indigenes of the local government in the sect as in other local governments, this will not generalize them as he culprit or collaborators. Even the unfortunate incident was said to have been reported upon sighting of the insurgents.
Lastly, I am calling on the government and the Operation Lafiya Dole command to organize a punitive expedition combining the military, hunters, vigilantes and the CJTF to conduct searching operations of the forest and desert areas.
Once again, we laud the patriotism, resilience and commitment of all the officers and men of the Operation Lafiya Dole and other security agencies for their sacrifice and to Brigadier General Kuka Sheka for their efforts, and to General Lucky Irabor for his leadership of the Operation. Offensive and reconnaissance is the most effective way in counter insurgency while launching periodic offensive operations to the hideouts of the insurgents as most of their routes were well known to both the locals and the security.