Insurgency: International community has not done enough for Nigeria
• Insists Efforts At Obtaining Assistance Diplomatically Rejected
A security consultant and the Managing Director of Hakes and Partners, Col Hassan Stan-Labo (Rtd) has said the international community has not done enough for Nigeria in abolishing insurgency.
Stan-Labo told The Guardian, that the extent the international community, especially the global powers, have shown concern may be debatable, as efforts at obtaining assistance were often subtlety or diplomatically turned down.
“What Nigeria seeks in support are vital equipment and logistics that can bring about a game change, surveillance, intelligence, training advisory and funding. In this direction, the international community has not done enough in destroying insurgency.”
The retired military officer nonetheless, advised that Nigeria should continue to embrace progressive dialogue and improve on the multilateral collaborative counter-insurgency approach (MNJTF) including Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria.
“It is important to note that in the early years of the crisis, the international partners cautioned that Boko Haram was unlikely to be defeated on the battleground alone.
“They stressed the need for some multi-dimensional response that tackles the drivers of insecurity in the region, for instance, weakness in service delivery, corruption in governance and environmental degradation.
“The perception of limited or restricted access to the Northeast didn’t help matters too. In practice, therefore, international assistance came late, with the problem of identifying credible local partners for stabilisation programmes.”
On if the government has done enough to earn the confidence of the international community, Stan-Labo said the Nigerian government, especially the present administration, has performed fairly well in the handling of the insurgency situation on the ground.
“The dearth in equipment holding, as characterised by lack of military spares, equipment and logistics, among others, have been reasonably addressed under a sustained strategy to correct the long neglect of the military, while meeting with requirements in the field.
“The issues of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), human rights concerns and related gender matters are being adequately looked into. These initiatives have positively impacted on the execution of the war. A lot of stabilisation programmes have been designed and put in place, with the assumption that the security situation in the Northeast would continue to improve, thereby facilitating the gradual return of displaced populations and local administration.
“Unfortunately, rampant corruption and ineffective coordination have hampered government’s civilian response to the crisis, with Federal, State and Local elites benefiting from the continuation of the crisis. Civil Society Organisations are also not left out of gain share.
“Nigeria’s case, therefore, exemplifies the difficulty of implementing local-level stabilisation effort, with host governments lacking in political commitments, transparency, and coordination.”
Does Stan-Labo suspect France of likely sabotaging the fight, given its operations in the Maghreb region?
He said besides its operations in the Maghreb, France has never been comfortable with Nigeria’s domineering big brother posture in West Africa, which flows naturally by virtue of its size, population and resource endowment.
“France also sees Nigeria’s leadership role in the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) as serious impediments to her desire to extend the control over her francophone affiliates to the entire region. Hence, every opportunity to whittle down Nigeria’s enviable position would be utilised.
“France’s interest and priority in the Maghreb is to have a real France-Maghreb policy, as it is with Maghreb countries. It has built the closest relationship given the important exchanges of the population between them,” he said.
The security expert maintained that France would always look forward to expanding its grip on the continent, drawing from its success story in the Maghreb. “Its continuous intervention in the unrest within the region, Morocco’s re-admittance into the AU after several years of absence and the recent pull out of Chadian troops from the MNJTF all have France’s political-strategic undertones,” he explained.
On what moves could be made to rally friendly countries, especially world powers, to dismantle Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) and its affiliates, he said government must show enough commitment to overcoming the big five major problems confronting the military in the war, which he listed as funding, manpower, equipment cum Logistics and then training with troops welfare.
“Our strategic thinking in these areas must be out-of-the-box. For instance, we all know by now that we cannot rely on budgetary allocations alone in funding the defence sector.
“Secondly, clear attempts must be made to halt the current systemic deficits in governance delivery, particularly the lack of accountability and weak state incentives to prioritise service delivery.
“Thirdly, efforts at reintegrating individuals affiliated with violent extremism must be intensified. More so that donors are now ready to support such local-level strategic initiative through a well thought out programme on demobilisation, deradicalisation, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
“Finally, effort must be made to convince the West, especially the United States to allow and facilitate Nigeria’s access and benefit from the Global Security Corporation Fund and Counter-Terrorism Partnership Fund.”