How the Nigerian Army is Losing the Battle Against Boko Haram?
It must have become apparent that the Nigerian government is slowly losing more ground in the battle against Boko Haram. Chief among the culprits in this steady loss are Nigeria’s own security forces led by the high-handed Army and Police.
In all their defense joint ventures as Special Task Force (STF), Joint Task Force (JTF) etc, the Nigerian Army and Police have one thing in common, lack of ethics, compassion and discipline.
Last week, when US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton visited Nigeria, her message concerning the Nigerian government’s war on terror was instructive.
Reuters reported her aide as saying, :”A security strategy is not enough, Military crackdowns have mixed results – hurting Boko Haram in some areas but angering people by their heavy handedness.”
The Nigerian security forces are also victims of attacks by Boko Haram Several members of the rank and file have had their promissing lives cut too short by the explosives and bullets the terrorist groups have to offer. This has undoubtedly angered the rank and file of the Army and Police. However they have to learn to employ wisdom and strategy not anger and brute force in their reactions to the campaign for the end of this battle.
The strategy of rage is foolish and aids the ideological mission of Boko Haram, which is to widen the rift between the government and its people.
Only today, residents of Okene in Kogi cried out against “brutality” being meted out to them by the security forces deployed to the area in the wake of the Deeper Life shootings.
One of the victims was quoted as saying, “Some of us have been victims of brutality from some of the soldiers sent here by the Federal Government and the Army high command to protect us.
“We came out for our legitimate socio-economic activities only for us to be attacked by some soldiers that shot sporadically, injured some and destroyed some of our belongings including our goods.”
Now ofcourse the security forces have denied the allegations. However we are all mindful of the atrocities our security forces are capable of. Flashback to the gruesome killings of Apo 6 in Abuja circa 2005. Justice was never done, even though it was quite clear the culprits.
The Presidency must take steps to ensure the Defense Chiefs install proper disciplinary sanctions against erring officials in its employ. There must also be a re-orientation process whereby the Army and Police pass its members through a reorientation process whereby they learn methods to combat the psychological tactics of Boko Haram, instead of consistently falling into its trap.
Another lasting solution would be to increase the salary and benefits being paid to the Army and Police. Those who lose their lives in the battle must be generously compensated posthumously, even if they are unmarried.
A situation where upon death, a Boko Haram operatives family is better compensated than an official of the Army or Police, is a tragic situation. And steps must be taken to rectify.
Most importantly, the Nigerian Army must see itself as an agent of the Federal Government’s struggle for victory against terror. Therefore it should not employ terror to achieve this aim.