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Fighting Insurgency: When Journalists Compare Notes over Opinion and Interest in Military Strategy

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Boko Haram: 26 terrorists, 2 Soldiers killed on Borno

Fighting Insurgency: When Journalists Compare Notes over Opinion and Interest in Military Strategy

By: James Bwala

At least in the last 15 years, Nigerians have seen efforts put forth by successive governments to put out the spirit that guides certain individuals, who are bent on crushing the oneness of the larger society we live in by their ideology of sectism. We have seen the rise of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and its devastating effects. We were moved to tears by the rise of banditry in the northwest and central Nigeria and continued to count the number of deaths. 

The kidnapping cases in southern Nigeria and the continued agitations by the indigenous people of Biafra and IPOB, particularly in southeast Nigeria, have attempted to change the way we live. The government has continued to reassure Nigerians of its efforts in fighting many crises, and it has continued to do so. But Nigerians seemed to be getting impatient with certain attitudes displayed by key actors in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria, especially strategies adopted by the military and police in dealing with these phases of internal wranglings.

I was moved to look into the issue of compelling results from many reports and read the minds of many reporters on many platforms to which I belong. Speaking on the current trend of security activities in the country, many believed that nothing much has been done to ensure that the strategy being put in place by security agencies in the country is working as expected by Nigerians. 

I read about many suggestions, which include a high time for the handlers of security issues in the country to look inward to these suggestions if we are truly reasoning along the lines of fighting to end the insecurity situation in the country. One of the contributors to the debate suggested that a swap of military commanders as well as intelligence personnel be carried out. In practicality, it is suggested that field commanders of northern extraction be moved to the operational bases in the south, while the same be taken from the south to the north, as well as intelligence officers.

His opinion is that many of these commanders and intelligence officers are at home with many of these terrorists and bandits in the north, as well as those in the operations in southern Nigeria, who continue to leak information to these criminals, making every effort by the government to look more like a political interest than the opinions of the people.

Speaking on a video in circulation about the operations of the bandits in northwest Nigeria, a discussant on one of the platforms and a reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, state that facts still remain that bandits are still around and conduct such acts as they do almost on a daily basis with impunity.

According to the reporter, “If you listen or read media reports, many villages in Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina states are still under siege, paying taxes to bandit groups that occupied primary schools as residence while subjecting the villagers to slavery.”

One of the participants, also a journalist, said, “I think it matters if we want to rule out the possibility of peddling fake news. I agree that there are activities by bandits in the NW and NC regions, but that doesn’t mean there are no counterterrorism activities by the Nigerian military. These kinds of conflicts are ubiquitous and pre-existential; they only keep evolving. So yes, they are happening, and efforts are being made to checkmate them; maybe they are happening at a pace that can be done better.”

While his opinion was worth looking at, another counter to the argument revealed that, “Of course there is counterterrorism, but the outcome is not encouraging, as bandits will kidnap victims, keep them for months while communicating with their relatives and collecting ransom until the last victim, then go for another round while security agencies are like watching helplessly or overwhelmed. Such victims even include security agents!”

More sad is seeing overwhelmed state governments trying to negotiate with bandits out of fear! The bandits hideouts are well known to the government, which has jet fighters, artillery, APCs, and other heavy arms, yet the bad elements are getting bolder on a daily basis.

A reporter confirmed that the Islamic cleric Sheikh Gumi even took some security personnel along to meet with the bandits in their hideouts, and the bandits talked boldly, looking down on the Nigerian authorities as weak.

One of the reporters agreed that the government needs to change tactics in its approach to handling the threat that keeps growing because it keeps using the normal tactics that make the whole thing look like treating leprosy with panadol. “Chinua Achebe said a strange disease (like bandits) cannot be cured with everyday herbs.” He added.

Another observation was that the government should think of something like mobilizing 50,000 to 100,000 youths in each of the affected states to be led by security agencies to sack all identified hideouts, just like youths in Maiduguri did to sack boko haram. There is no dangerous security threat like that of food insecurity, and that is where Nigeria is heading as bandits and other terrorists continue to threaten agriculture in the North.” He added.

On the reeling facts, one of the discussants said, “I agree your points are valid; the nemesis that is happening isn’t being treated the way it should. But do you think this combat approach is resolute enough to totally eliminate banditry and kidnapping? Do you think the way ‘youths in Maiduguri sacked Boko Haram’ is finite and brought an end to the insurgency? Imagine if bandits or BH say they want to have a faceoff with the military, let them meet at a point and fight off to the last blood, and assume the Nigerian military won them over and killed every last one of them. Do you say this is a victory that we will not see anything again like BH/Bandits?” He asked.

READ ALSO:https://dailypost.ng/2024/01/03/mercy-corps-commends-nigerian-governments-gaza-intervention/

“While everyone who knows history of conflict will attest Nigeria’s is novel and multifaceted, hence needs a tactical approach; instead of killing people who are hungry, why not find them what to eat, a job to do, or the healthcare they need? Instead of policies drawn and argued by politicians who take humongous salaries for nothing, why not make the lives of the poor easy? The problem as I see it, not wholly but majorly, lies in 1) democratic governance, which, for instance, values a more constitutional approach to solving problems than traditional leadership. 2) policies that are good on paper but not in the daily life of a common Nigerian. 3) the puppeting of the military by greedy politicians who don’t give absolute autonomy to security with a non-kinetic approach.” He stressed.

“It is a common understanding that when you can’t feed yourself, the one you rely on will feed you what he wishes. Farming for cash or food is not easy. 1) Farmers rely on loans, which they oftentimes suffer from not repaying. 2) They cannot do large-scale farming, for example, in the NE, due to insecurity. 3) Fertilizers and other farming logistics that the government can actively support are not provided in the case scenario: the tractors in Maiduguri’s Farm House some years ago and the Industrial Park beside BOSU.

“So, why won’t the government, for instance, take all of these to fruition? For example, it provides a large-scale farm with mechanization (since the government can), hires farmers for farming (job creation), makes industrial processing of the harvests, and sells them back at a subsidized amount to locals. But the government won’t do it and will say it’s not feasible. I’ve seen this done here in Nigeria. WFP has implemented the same in Kano, and rice was farmed. Truckloads of food from Nigeria were shipped to Burkina Faso. This happened just last year.” He said.

Another replied that “if people are busy doing what they can to feed themselves, nobody will have time to fight or kill each other just to survive. If you think fighting or killing bandits or BH by airstrikes or sustained gunfights will kill the elements, what will you say of the ideologies in the minds of their wives and children who have survived the fight, saw the military kill their fathers, and vowed to take vengeance?

“In years to come, they will fight harder and with more sophistication than their parents. So the bottom line for me is that Nigeria is trying—not enough, for sure—but approaches for such need to be all-encompassing. We can see propaganda videos of bandits testing their armor. How much of the strength of the military do we know? They don’t even show it; their successes aren’t as loud as the day-to-day abductions of bandits. Soldiers die on the frontlines. And also, it is easy to commit a crime, like kidnapping and demanding a ransom; it is the prevention of such kinds of intentions that is difficult. Still, I am not detesting your facts; I am attributing a wider picture for a more balanced understanding.

“The issue is that the military should dominate the fight. We record military formations being sacked by terrorists who are bold enough to attack convoys of troops! That’s not an encouraging signal. They need to receive successive bloody noses and many surprises from the military to keep them busy looking for where to hide instead of waiting to repel them. They need to be kept on the defensive. It’s a pity, and that is why the issues keep growing rather than dwindling. The entire approach to banditry, as well as other criminal networks, is not as pragmatic and holistic as it should be. Some of us have started suffering from the terror activities that discourage massive farming due to death threats posed to them by criminal elements across the states.”

Fighting Insurgency: When Journalists Compare Notes over Opinion and Interest in Military Strategy

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Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

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Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

By: Michael Mike

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the British Government for offering to undertake the provision of headquarters house and personnel accommodation for the Marine Unit of the anti-narcotics body at the Eko Atlantic city beach.

Marwa, who gave the commendation while performing the groundbreaking ceremony to signify the commencement of the project facilitated by the UK Home Office International Operations (HOIO), assured that the agency will continue to live up to the expectations of Nigerians and its international partners.

He said the confidence reposed in the agency by President Bola Tinubu and the UK government as well as their all-round support will always be a morale booster for the officers and men who daily take huge risks to dismantle drug cartels with the sole aim of curbing the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria, while significantly contributing to the global effort to address the drug problem.

He noted that the office and accommodation facilities being provided by the UK government for personnel of the marine unit of the agency will in no small measure enhance their safety, efficiency and confidence. “You have provided us a place here, you’ve given us the trainings, you’ve supported with the boats and the repairs and now the accommodation. We can only say thank you. We wish to give the assurances on what you already know that the NDLEA is a serious Agency, we do what we have to do without fear or favour, we will get the job done, that I can give you the assurance as we continue to partner. Thank you very much”, the NDLEA boss said while addressing the British government officials and their contractors at the site of the project.

He also commended personnel of the Navy, Customs, Immigration and other services in the area for their collaboration with NDLEA. “We all must stand up together, though the NDLEA is the lead agency in this enterprise, the work is collaborative. We must partner to get the job done. I’ve been briefed that there’s lot of collaboration going on the same way I was at MMIA this morning and spoke to your senior colleagues there and they are all working together as you are here. I urge you to keep it up in this spirit and I wish you more success.”

Addressing officers of the Unit, Marwa said the leadership of the agency is restructuring the Marine Unit so that it “can become a lean and mean force under an able commander”, adding “you should brace up, stand up on your two feet and work very hard to make sure that drugs do not pass by water.”

In his brief remarks at the ceremony, Kris Hawksfield of the UK Home Office International Operations assured that the project will be completed latest by July 2024.

Speaking earlier at a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy meeting with the leadership of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Marwa said there is need for the organization to partner with the Agency in the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. He urged the PMAN President, Prettywise Okafor and other executives to mobilise their members to use their God-given talents for the good of the society rather than using their music to promote drug abuse especially among the youths.

Okafor in his response expressed the preparedness of PMAN to partner with the Agency. He also gave details of their effort to organise advocacy campaign against drug abuse across the country and their plan to build rehabilitation centres as part of their ongoing projects in Abuja and Lagos.

Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

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Internal Security: NSCDC Takes Delivery of Gadgets to Enhance Surveillance

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Internal Security: NSCDC Takes Delivery of Gadgets to Enhance Surveillance

By: Michael Mike

The nation’s internal security has received a boost with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Monday took delivery of three drones and 100 highly profiled self-configured walkie-talkies from international partners.

Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi who received the gadgets on behalf of the Corps in his office, thanked Equipping the Needy Initiative (ETNI) and its partner for the kind gesture.

The Commandant General further reiterated that ETNI has demonstrated through their donation that security is a collaborative effort.

He said: “Our partners in their previous visit promised partnership and true to their words, they have come to fulfil that promise today, it shows that they just don’t do the talk they work the talk.”

Audi also gave the assurance that the gadgets donated will be optimally utilized, stating that “anything being given has been given as a trust and the communication centre so promised will serve as a command and control centre where we will harness our national operations. The Corps is in charge of liberated areas and provides safety and security to IDP camps.”

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Equipping the Needy Initiative, Dr Benedict Aliku in the company of some passionate citizens of the United States who are also security experts and consultants, in his address said that their donation is a testament to their commitment to supporting the NSCDC, with the firm belief that security is a collective responsibility and their resolve to play their part effectively.

Aliku maintained that the organisation will explore other areas for more collaboration, hence the intention to leverage on the NSCDC Act for future endeavours.

He said: “One such initiative as we leverage on the NSCDC Act 2003 as amended 2007 is to embark on IDP shelter projects for the needy in five states of Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, and Nasarawa, and will be managed by the NSCDC.”

He also added the construction of a Communication Command Centre that will be domiciled at the National Headquarters of NSCDC will coordinate surveillance across the nation.

Another high point was the presentation of the award to the Commandant General in recognition of his unwavering commitment to combating crime and ensuring the safety of the people of Nigeria.

The Commandant in charge of the Counter Terrorism Unit, Edike Akpan, thanked the Commandant General and partners of the Corps for beefing up the unit to meet international best practices and assured of the unit’s readiness to utilize the facility well.

The passionate United States citizens present were Judd Saul, International Director ETNI, Steve Fisher- US Adversary Board, Doug Bouton- US journalist and Mark Danner- Security consultant.

The delegation later moved to the proposed site for the construction of the Counter-terrorism Response and Communication Centre.

Internal Security: NSCDC Takes Delivery of Gadgets to Enhance Surveillance

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Again, NAF airstrikes destroy ISWAP ‘logistic facility’ eliminate fighters in Borno

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Again, NAF airstrikes destroy ISWAP ‘logistic facility’ eliminate fighters in Borno

By: Zagazola Makama

The Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has neutralized some fighters of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in airstrikes on their locations in Dure in the Timbuktu Triangle, Borno State.

The attacks were carried out under subsidiary Operation Desert Sanity III by the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai on Thursday January 18, 2024.

Intelligence sources told Zagazola Makama that the air interdiction missions were executed on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating terrorists’ activities in the area.

The sources said that the terrorists’ logistics structure and fighters were neutralized during the air strikes.

Again, NAF airstrikes destroy ISWAP ‘logistic facility’ eliminate fighters in Borno

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