Military, security experts urge support for anti-terrorism fight
Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) yesterday in Lagos, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin who was represented by Air Vice Marshal Christopher Gudi noted that the war against terrorism cannot be resolved by the Federal Government alone.
“The right to live in a peaceful, safe and secure environment is an inalienable right of every citizen of this country thus the collective need for every member to help in combatting the menace.
“Whatever strategies currently being adopted by the armed forces in the counter-terrorism and counter- insurgency operations must be part of a larger effort requiring the active participation of a wide array of players,” he said.
On the theme of the event, “The changing face of terrorism in Africa”, Olonishakin said: “Our discourse today comes at a time that the AFN is reorganizing in line with the current threat perception and our roles as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to safeguard these rights. Our contemporary challenges are characterized by non-state actors who exhibit deep intolerance for peaceful coexistence with other members of the society based on narrow ideologies, radicalism and in some instances, outright criminal intents.
“These individuals and groups have resorted to attacking innocent citizens, creating an atmosphere of fear and panic through acts of terror as well as insurgent activities against Nigeria’s territorial integrity.”
According to him, to consolidate on the successes against the insurgents, peace-building efforts must concentrate on addressing issues that allowed the challenge to fester in the first place.”
According to the military chief, “The protection of civilians, particularly the effective management of vulnerable populations such as displaced persons must remain our collective focus. The humanitarian support and developmental initiatives, including infrastructural upgrades, must aim at addressing the prevailing human society concerns.”
In his lecture titled “Terrorist Challenges in Africa: Risk-based Mitigation Strategies”, President of the association, Mr. Ona Ekhomu described terrorism as a high order violence which is best avoided than responded to.
According to the security expert, despite the well-known problem of resource scarcity in Africa, terrorism has continued to make giant strides on the continent.