ROUGHLY, THREE-QUARTERS OF NIGERIA’S 36 STATES federation, are under siege by armed bandits – ranging from armed robberies, kidnapping and insurgency. The result. Lives of citizens – highly placed and small, especially, the defenseless are wantonly snuffed out daily, without qualms of conscience.
Bandits, fearlessly, dare Nigerian military – ambushing and killing dozens of soldiers fighting insurgency and banditry. Nigerian military’s capability in winning the war is waning. Increasing doubts whether the tactics employed by the military in combating criminality in the country is model.
Scenes of gruesome killings and blood-letting by bandits in the country, no longer trigger human emotion of abhorrence. It has become normal to see blood flows and lives wasted on daily basis. Yet, Nigerian Army Chief, Tukur Buratai, gave himself pass mark, and graded the military performance in fighting banditry and insurgency in the country as doing well.
Security analysts and observers, however, believe that Nigerian military is capable, and has the capacity and intelligence to deal, decisively, with the present challenges of insecurity in the country. But noted that leadership, motivation and synergy among security agencies in the country are the bane of successfully tackling and crushing banditry.
On Monday, Buratai, after meeting President Buhari, to brief him on the deteriorating security situation in the country, told waiting journalists that he had done well in tackling the security situation, even with continued surge in banditry. President Buhari, had in June 2020, bluntly, told the nation’s security chiefs that their best was not good enough in combating insecurity in the country.
Buratai said he had succeeded in restoring normalcy to the North-West. And has accomplished one aspect of the tasks Buhari gave him, and met the president to brief him on ongoing military operations in north-west and north-east, as well as, other matter that concerned the Nigerian army.
“The security situation, I assure you, is under control and is not like what used to happen a month or two ago. We are working very hard and the troops are doing very well and I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far. These include the kinetic and the non-kinetic aspects of our ‘Exercise Sahel Sanity.’ We are there fully supporting Operation Hadarin Daji, which is a joint operation of the armed offices and the security agencies.
“So far, this collective effort is making tremendous progress in the area of bringing normalcy. Unlike the series of killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and of course the threats to prevent the people from going to their farms, these have been removed with the presence of the number of troops in the North-West and they are carrying out surveillance operations, patrol to ensure that no one is molested if they go outside the community to farm or harvest.”
Responding to the question asked, to state the task President Buhari gave him, that he has, partially accomplished, Buratai said the task was to secure the country from any form of insecurity. “So, it is the same task that we should end or curtail or bring to the barest minimum the issue of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and insurgency and we have been doing it for a long time. We are essentially supporting the police to ensure that our country is safe.”
Asked, also, if Nigeria could win the war against insecurity, he said the feat could be achieved with the support of Nigerians. “These terrorists, 99 per cent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers, I will say 100 per cent of them are Nigerians. So, it is not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country. It is only when it goes bad that we are called in; but everybody has the responsibility to handle that.”
Security analysts and observers, have noted that Buratai’s comment that securing the country from banditry and insurgency “is not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country”; and added that “It is only when it goes bad that we [military] are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that,” as abdicating responsibility.
They also noted that it was high time President Buhari send the team of the present Service Chief packing. How soon, President Buhari would heed popular demand and outcry for the service chiefs to be sacked without further delay, is anybody’s guess.