More AID workers may be abducted if FG fails to act on ISWAP, says Ekhomu
Security expert and President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu has said that insurgent attacks on aid workers are likely to grow in frequency if the Federal Government does not act aggressively to protect other humanitarian workers in the country.
He condemned the execution of four Nigerian employees of Action Against Hunger (AAH), who were kidnapped by Boko Haram splinter group, the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) insurgents in Damasak, Borno State on July 25, this year, describing it as “horrendous, barbaric and a wanton act of terror”.
Ekhomu who extended condolences to the families of the murdered aid workers, their colleagues and the government of Borno State, urged the government to do its best to rescue Grace Taku, the only hostage that was spared but condemned to a life of slavery by the insurgent group.
He stated that the nation is likely to relive the anguish citizenry are feeling as a result of these senseless murders. “The murder of the four aid workers was to prove to the Federal Government and their French employers that Boko Haram/ISWAP meant business in its ransom demand,” he said.
Ekhomu maintained that it was not possible for the Federal Government to pay ransom for all person kidnapped by the insurgents. “In this wise, aid workers should be adequately protected so that they can continue to safely carry out the life-saving humanitarian work they do,” he added.
He enjoined the Federal Government to redouble its effort in fighting the Boko Haram/ISWAP warfare, stressing that the fourth generation conflict lines between the combatants and the civilians were blurred. “So, a successful attack by insurgents against soft targets is also considered an attack against hardened military targets.”
The security advised the government to stay focused and engaged and not in what he called ‘take eyes off the ball’, rather they should adopt the troops surge strategy earlier recommended.
Describing the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency as the nation’s longest war, Ekhomu noted that the surging of 10,000 troops into the conflict zone in the Northeast to vigorously pursue the enemy would likely bring the conflict to a quick end.
He urged the government to use all its resources — political, diplomatic, military, financial, and cyber to prosecute the decentralized warfare.
“Federal government must commit massive resources to prosecute the war on insurgency. Dragging out the conflict will only result in more hostage-taking, loss of lives, destruction of the scanty and fragile infrastructure in the northeast, exacerbated hunger and poverty in the north-east region and retardation of the Nigerian economy,” he stated.