Tasks before Minister of Defense, By Abba Dukawa

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Nigeria  had its own bitter taste of the Boko Haram insurgency and others form of insecurities across the country  which practically stalled development in areas that have direct impact on the human capital development indices. Federal government boldly declared on National Television that the militants had been “technically defeated”. That “technical victory”, it is apparent, is fast becoming a Pyrrhic victory with the renewed wave of attacks by the insurgents on soft targets.   On same issue of technically defeat of Boko Haram claimed by the Buhari’s administration but the residents at the epicenter made counter claims recently  in their letter to PMB, part of the letter further reads:

“A country’s armed forces were supposed to be a proud and patriotic defenders of both the nation’s territories and its citizens, but our today’s men of the armed forces were either overwhelmed by the desire to amass wealth by all means and, on the blood of the innocent Nigerian citizens, or have been compromised by theories of conspiracy and collaboration by deserting their formations in the face of attacks by the insurgents.”

The residents lamented that all military formations have been withdrawn from all their strategic locations and this action has made the remaining communities more vulnerable to attacks. They noted that this had also emboldened confidence of the insurgents to daily attack and ransack communities that were unprotected due to the lack of military presence and the troops were confined to their trenches, waiting to be attacked, in fact they have lost confidence in Nigerian Army.

During your ministerial screening in the Senate you said to fight an insurgency or general insecurity, the Army, Air Force and the Navy should have a common troop working together and should not operate independent of one another with a need for a single commander who should take care of reinforcement, operations, change of troops, among other needs. You also elaborated that “In Nigeria today, what we call command structure is now being seen as weakness. We have almost disseminated all our forces and I do not think the current structure is a true reflection of the manpower requirement in this country. We only have divisions probably by name but I do not think we have the required manpower to man them”.

General, you had wealth of experience in warfare having served as chief of staff ECOMOG in Liberia. What Nigerians expect is a Military Victory not Technical Victory. Nigerians need to see a different approach in terms of choosing the right personnel to dispense with the responsibilities of safeguarding the country. You need to ensure professionalism in handling of sensitive intelligence gathering’s as there is deficiency and  lack of professional handling of some sensitive intelligence.

There are widespread reports of poor handling of sensitive information by some security forces resulting in colossal loss of men and material in the country.  The intelligence gathering structures and efforts of nearly all the security and law enforcement agencies have collapsed in recent years. Despite the critical role of intelligence in ongoing efforts to overcome security threats in the country, most security agencies merely pay lip service. The present Chiefs seem to have reached their nadir and the motivation to deliver the right modules for effective security is tellingly missing. Some Nigerians have been saying that it is about time the President rejig his service chiefs. Let these tired chiefs leave the scene for more robust and result-driven officers minds that will come up with a new perspective on how to combat our insecurity challenges. The army should be trained in counter-terrorism strategies and tactics, asymmetric warfare, and desert warfare.

The Nigerian military has lost its morale due to overstaying in the battlefront, lack of proper medical attention, as well as poor salary and allowances. There is need to reduce the shortage of security personnel by creating a National Guard and a Special Forces Unit tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian state from internal and external aggressors. It is about time the President goes beyond mere sloganeering, and sprouts to action. We are tired of weather-beaten rhetoric that has become so repetitive and boring. For about eleven years, the country has had its own bitter taste of different kinds of insecurities   which practically stalled development in many areas that have direct impact on human capital development indices. All eyes are now on retired Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi to consolidate the Technical Victory against   Boko Haram insurgency and other insecurity challenges facing the country to total Military Victory. The actions of our soldiers in the frontline have made Barno residents lose confidence in the recent military’s performance in protecting not only the vulnerable citizens but even the territorial boundaries of the nation. Militants of all kind should be boxed into a corner where they will be forced to negotiate peace terms which should be devoid of exchange of cash.

Finally, I am wishing you Allah’s guidance to witness Real Victory Against All Kinds Of Insecurities Facing The Country Not “Technical Victory”. 

Dukawa can be reached through: abbahydukawa@gmail.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily 

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