Insecurity: Upgrade anti-terrorism strategy
Sir: The assassination of a prominent northern politician and former presidential aide to Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak in Imo State is alarming. In Nigeria, after two failed military coups, the Igbos came together to form the secessionist state of Biafra which sparked off a three-year civil war from 1967 to 1970 during which the Nigerian military imposed a siege of the eastern region. This caused over two million civilians to perish.
Likewise, in Cameroun, abhorrence dating back to 1961 based on claims of marginalisation by francophone citizens that make up to 80 per cent of the country, armed separatist groups are fighting tooth and nail to carve out the nation’s English speaking regions to form a free-standing state named Ambazonia. Let’s take Boko Haram’s emulation of the foreign terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in excessive violence. This resulted in Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, eventually state its allegiance to ISIS in 2015.
This two groups’ inception renovated Boko Haram’s ability to carry out daytime and nighttime attacks with promising success. Apart from that, there are also several comparable terrorists and criminal alliances from all over the West African region that can be referred to.
The escalation of insecurity in Nigeria that stems up from economic marginalisation; ethnic/religious intolerance; corrupt practices; bad governance; unemployment and poverty have resulted in an insurgency in the Northeast, militancy in the Niger Delta area and agitation in the Southeast, youth restiveness in the Southwest. That is not to say that taking new counter-terrorism measures is hopeless.
The general concept of counter-terrorism in Nigeria is surrendered to the hands of the Nigerian military who are presumed to have the best training as counter-terrorist. Meanwhile, they only apply physical reproof and lack other logical strategic approaches to reap positive solutions to the insurgency. It is sad to say that the Nigerian military does not really conform to modern warfare and has been denounced as human rights violators by several organisations. Nonetheless, there are a number of recommended policies that can be used in Nigeria for counter-terrorism.
The welfare of operatives is number one. A proper welfare package that includes fighting tools, vehicles, combat gadgets to lower casualty levels should be arranged for the workers to keep them dedicated.
Secondly, counter-terrorism factions can also be created where not only the military but other law enforcement agencies and selected occupants of terrorism-prone areas can synergise. This way vital information can be shared and basic approach can be exercised in dealing with terror attacks.
In addition, upgrading operatives’ knowledge in terrorism and modern counter-terrorism tactics would give them a better understanding that fruitful strategies can be more advantageous than combat and deadly force though it is also welcomed when protecting lives and properties. When these are put in place, the government must put a stop to these asinine negotiations with terrorists and bandits that eventually lead to the transfer of funds to them and their agents. This method of mediation only strengthens their criminal operations.
Presently in Nigeria, insecurity is slowly becoming the country’s insignia. Not a day goes by without reported cases of villages being ransacked and burnt, innocuous citizens being killed, students being abducted from schools and kidnappings of all sorts.
It is only appropriate for the government to earnestly tackle this security nightmare in the country.
Zubaida Baba Ibrahim wrote from Wuye District, Abuja.
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