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Why North opposes reprieve for insurgents

By Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna, Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos, Danjuma Michael, Katsina and Chido Okafor, Warri
22 February 2020   |   4:30 am
A former Military Administrator of Kebbi State and immediate past Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Col. John Ubah (rtd), has advised the federal government not to enter into any negotiation with insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.

• Ex-Kebbi Milad Warns Govt Not To Negotiation With Criminals
• Presidency Should Declare State Of Emergency
On Security, Says Clark
• Gen. Rimdan Says Drones, Radar Should Have Been Used In Northeast
• Unemployment Fuelling Insecurity In Nigeria, Says Katsina Emir
• You Can End Boko Haram Insurgency, Buratai Tells Troops

A former Military Administrator of Kebbi State and immediate past Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Col. John Ubah (rtd), has advised the federal government not to enter into any negotiation with insurgents, bandits and kidnappers. Doing so, he warns, will worsen the security challenges in country. Ubah also blamed the unending insurgency in Nigeria on the type of training officers and soldiers received in the various military institutions in the country, which he said was tailored toward conventional warfare and not fighting insurgency and revolutionary combat. He fingers opposition elements for the escalation of the insecurity, accusing them of being behind insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.

On his part, a former commander of the 31 Airborne Brigade of the Para-Trooper Brigade in Makurdi, Benue State, as well as First and Fourth Guard Battalions in Lagos, Gen. Yakubu Rimdan (rtd), has said that drones, radars and satellites could have been used by the armed forces in the northeast theatre of operation to detect the movements and position of Boko Haram insurgents.

Rimdan, an Infantry soldier who participated in the Nigerian civil war and other expenditions outside the country, told The Guardian in Jos, the Plateau State capital, that he had expected the Nigerian armed forces to use radar to detect the position of the Boko Haram insurgents, which would have ended the reign of terror in the northeast in the shortest time.He expressed surprise that the armed forces had not thought it expedient to deploy those gadgets to eradicate terrorism once and for all, adding: “Maybe the funds approved and released for the purchase of those gadgets might have been misappropriated or misapplied or mismanaged.”
Besides, Rimdan urged the Army High Command to recruit more soldiers, so that the armed forces are not starved of personnel at the battlefronts.
Ubah stated that if the insurgents had been defeated, as the federal government has claimed, “they will not be doing what they are doing all over the country today, killing Nigerians, ambushing and kidnapping citizens and so on.

There is insecurity all over the country. They have not been defeated; the battle is still on.“It is more difficult now, because the average Nigerian is not committed to a common course. Everybody is individualistic; it is only what concerns me that I can be committed to. We should know that all of us constitute government.

“The issue of mass education of civic responsibility is no longer there. The political and social education is not adequately impacted on the people to ensure that citizens are patriotic to the course of fighting the country’s challenges and helping the government to fight the insurgency.”

On the clamour for the sacking of the service chiefs, the retired officer said relieving them of their duties might not help the fight against insurgency in the country, because “they do the thinking and have all the training and the soldiers carry out the action.

“I will request and advise the military not to allow themselves to be demoralised by the unfriendly or what I will call uncomplimentary attitude of the majority of the society. The military is doing its best. The government, because of our antecedent of military overthrowing and kicking politicians out of government in the past, the President has to be careful. He is a politician now; he is a strategist. He has to make sure he is confident in the people who are working with him.

“All the same, Nigeria has gone beyond military coups, so he should make sure the Ministry of Defence run the military the way it should be run. People have rules and regulations and tenure of office for each segment of leadership. If that is maintained, the morale of the troop, I think will be higher and the impetus will be there for them to be focused.”Ubah also advised government against negotiating with terrorists, bandits or kidnappers, as this would encourage others to engage in criminal activities.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Usman, yesterday, lamented the spate of security challenges bedeviling some parts of the country, even as he identified unemployment as a major factor fuelling insecurity in Nigeria.Speaking when Minister of State, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji, paid him courtesy visit at his palace in the Katsina State capital, Usman said the killings and other atrocities committed by Boko Haram, bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers were majorly due to unemployment in the country.

The monarch said it was difficult, if not impossible, for able-bodied youths not to engage in nefarious activities when they are not gainfully employed, adding: “Lack of jobs in the country is what is fuelling insecurity. If there are industries and other related projects, youths would be employed and the issue of insecurity would become thing of the past.

“When you look at the activities of Boko Haram, banditry and the likes, you will discover that a major factor behind such evil activities is unemployment. An idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop. Idleness leads to all forms of evil, including stealing and even killing of hapless citizens in parts of the country.”

He lamented that the recent security situation in Batsari Council, which led to the death of several people, was caused by idleness and people not having anything to do; hence called for prompt prosecution of persons found to have committed crimes in the country, no matter their level or status in society.

Usman said some people view themselves as being above the law and when the system tolerates such, others begin to do whatever they like, because they feel they can get away with it. He called on prominent persons in society not to keep quiet, but speak out on issues bedeviling the country, noting that by so doing, those in leadership positions would be aware of realities on ground and how to effectively tackle same.

Meanwhile, the national leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has called on the president to declare a state of emergency on security in the country, saying the security situation can no longer be treated with kid gloves.Clark was particularly miffed that the Chief of Staff, Abbah Kyari could hold meeting with service chiefs without the knowledge of the National Security Adviser NSA , who is their boss.

He said “the Chief of Army, Navy and Air staff knowing fully well that the National Security Adviser is their boss held a meeting with the Chief of Staff without consulting him.“We are at a crossroad in Nigeria today, we are moving towards anarchy. For the past one week or two the insurgents have been very active in the North East, a situation whereby it was reported that women and children are now sleeping on the streets of Maiduguri, they are afraid of their own village, and the Federal Government cannot cater for them, and we pretend to be helping other people outside the country.

“The number of people killed recently between Maiduguri and Damaturu is saddening, the army should be blamed, either they are not committed to what they are fighting for or they’re irresponsible. How can the army close the entrance to a place like Maiduguri without warning, and people in several vehicles traveling from Damaturu to Maiduguri were stranded because the road was closed. Nobody knew how the Boko Haram got wind of the blockade, they came out from the bush and killed several people.

“Then we have a similar situation in Katsina where 30 people were killed, and what did our president say? He said if we retaliated there would be more problem.”You Can End Boko Haram Insurgency, Buratai Tells Troops The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukar Buratai, has expressed confidence that troops in the northeast would end Boko Haram insurgency without support from foreign military forces.

Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement issued yesterday, quoted Buratai as making the remark in a letter to congratulate the Theatre commander, sector commanders, super camps commanders, commanding officers, as well as the officers and soldiers serving in Operation Lafiya Dole for their gallantry. The COAS in the letter, hailed the troops and their commanders for the display of courage and patriotism that led to the decimation of the leadership and ranks of Boko Haram insurgents and their affiliate ISWAP in various parts of the theatre.

Buratai tasked them to continue to dominate the theatre and maintain high standards of professionalism and asked them never to allow the insurgents any breathing space or freedom of action anywhere as they continue to discharge their legitimate duties.

He noted that with the renewed zeal, the menace of Boko Haram insurgents would end in just matter of days. He added that his confidence in total victory has further been rekindled by the determination of the troops on the ground, adding: “I am more confident now than ever before with your current robust posture that you will end the BHT/ISWAP menace in no distance time,” Buratai said.