Reassessing The War Against Boko Haram | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Reassessing The War Against Boko Haram

Posted: Jun 11, 2015 at 12:52 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ifeoma ononye  –  Lagos


Many Nigerians had hoped that the Boko Haram Insurgency in the country would become a thing of the past when President Muhammadu Buhari takes over as the number one citizen. Hope was also rekindled that their wings would be clipped when the President announced in his inaugural speech that the military command be relocated to Maiduguri to wage a final war against the sect. However several attacks perpetrated by the sect in the last one week have raised fresh fears on the ability of the government to defeat the sect once and for all.

An international security expert, Ona Ekhomu, said that the continued insurgency has proved that Boko Haram has nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. “Just as President Buhari referred to them as mindless and Godless, other Muslim elites like the Sultan of Sokoto have also said that the sect has nothing to do with Islam,” he said.

He recalled that back in April 2011, before President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in, there were several attacks. And during the may 29, swearing in the country witnessed a lot of violence before the bomb blast in Abuja the same day.

He said that the insurgency were patterned behaviour executed simultaneously, adding that Boko Haram’s game-plan has changed and so should Nigeria’s counter operations.

“The strategy with which Nigeria is fighting the insurgency is still wrong. Boko Haram insurgents have changed their mode of operation. They have changed their game plan. The Key for them is to kill people. Now they have moved away from their camps and are attacking public places unlike before when they were abducting people. The President’s order for the military command and control centre to relocate to Maiduguri may not work because the people we are fighting do not have a front line attack anymore. Front line strategy only works when you are fighting an enemy with the same front line strategy.

“You cannot use frontline strategy to fight an asymmetric warfare. It’s like putting a round peg in a square hole, which will never work. The President needs to re-strategise the warfare plan.

We need to improve intelligence access. We need to put our act together fast because we don’t have time, people are dying. Let the government flood the places where the insurgency is high with intelligence experts. I believe that we can win this fight because terrorism is not an act of God but an act of man,” he said.

“Also they should stop the quarry in those states because the sect gets information on the equipment used to break those stones and granites and they attack and take the equipment away. Ironically, it means we are arming them against us,” he added.

One of the issues that have raised a lot of dust about the military operations in fighting Boko Haram is the Amnesty International report last week. The report made security experts to examine the stage at which the sect has been operating and how the media have continued to refer to the group with the wrong nomenclature.

A security expert who did not want his name in print faulted the reference to Boko Haram as an insurgent group, noting that whereas insurgent and/or militant groups protest perceived injustices, the Boko Haram on the other hand is out to terrorise, intimidate and destabilise the government of Nigeria.

He said that until Nigerians call Boko Haram what they really are, which is a terrorist group, Nigeria will continue to lose the fight.

He said that the United States of America (USA) was able to deal with al Qaeda because they saw it for the terrorist group that it is, which has no legal rights under international law.

He blamed Nigerians and the media who have kept referring to the sect as insurgents for painting a wrong picture of the problem the Federal Government is contending with, arguing that such misrepresentation sends a wrong message to the international community regarding the problems.

The expert argued that some of the pictures and video clips purportedly showing Nigeria’s military executing people, and which the Amnesty International report was based on were actually Boko Haram members wearing the uniforms of soldiers they had killed.

He accused the Boko Haram members of shooting and posting the videos online to create doubts in the minds of people on the activities of the military, saying that no right thinking person would shoot videos of himself committing atrocities unless the video was being shot with an ulterior motive.

Former Anambra State governorship aspirant, Chike Obidigbo, disagreed with the notion that Boko Haram started because of difference in religious ideology or ethnicity.

His words: “Boko Haram is not about Jonathan or Buhari. It’s a global problem. Similar deadly organisations operate in almost all middle class and poor countries, and to a lesser extent, within the civilised countries. It’s activities are targeted against all people who do not share their warped ideology.”

He said that every sane Nigerian must cooperate with the administration to bring the sect’s evil excesses under control.

“Otherwise they will continue to harass and kill innocent people. The devastating effect of wanton destruction makes it difficult for any government to concentrate on providing good governance that would grow the economy,” he said, adding that a depressed economy is a clear invitation to anarchy and instability.