Upscaling Military Operations: Imperative for National Security
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
The tide of insecurity in the country is sweeping alarmingly. It has affected every strata of the nation’s economy. It has crippled many businesses and economic activities in States, across the federation.
The education sector in some States are now what they are, owing to the spiral effect of various security challenges, plaguing the States.
With schools and students at the mercy of kidnappers and bandits, it is only a matter of time before what is universally known as educational development (of the younger generation and youths) will take a flight in Nigeria.
The country’s agricultural sector is reeling under the yoke of insecurity. In virtually all the States of the North West and North Central zones, farming has become an impossibility. And where it still thrives, it is because the farmers are ‘playing ball’ with armed bandits.
As ‘Lords of the Manor’, bandits have since been compelling farmers in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Borno and many other Northern states to pay what they call ‘tax’ and ‘levy’, before accessing their farm sites.
Other sectors of the Nigerian economy have bitter tales of how they are contending with biting insecurity. The security challenge, which seemed to have overwhelmed the Police Force, is what necessitated the drafting of the Nigerian military, to help quell internal aggressions and threats posed by militia groups, terrorists, bandits and kidnappers, among other daredevil criminals.
For over a decade, troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces have been waging a counter-insurgency offensive against fighters of Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP.
Though, the war against the extremist sects is far from been won decisively, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has reiterated the desire and commitment of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to upscale its operational engagements.
This is geared towards restoring lasting peace to all troubled parts of the country.
Irabor, stated this during the flag-off of the “Project Zero Hunger” (Each One, Feed One), jointly organized by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA).
The flag-off took place at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Durumi, Abuja.
The CDS stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is providing the right leadership direction upon which the AFN have been able to undertake its operational engagements, which has brought sufficiently peace across the country.
He recalled that Mr President had mandated the Armed Forces and security agencies to ensure that security situation is brought to reasonable closer in order to enable farmers to return to their farmer so as to guaranty food security in the nation.
The CDS while explaining that the military had a lot of mileage to cover in terms of improving the security disposition, noted that the military is committed to upscaling her operations in order to ensure that citizens undertake their social-economic activities, including freedom of movement without molestation.
The Defence Chief applauded the Project Zero Hunger partnership initiative between NCFRMI and the DEPOWA, aimed at bringing succour to the vulnerable persons of concern in the society.
He commended NCFRMI and DEPOWA for their partnership which he said is supporting the kinetic and non-kinetic operations of the military.
According to Gen Irabor, the AFN medical outreach, humanitarian and social intervention programmes has boosted its Civil-Military engagements while galvanizing community support and goodwill for military campaigns.
The CDS appreciated IDPs across the nation for exhibiting high level of discipline and behaviour, urging them to report anyone with criminal tendencies to the security agencies. He reassured them of Government’s commitment to ensuring that they return back to their original homes healthy and productively.
The Project Zero Hunger which was equally conducted at the Karu and Keffi IDP Camps in Nasarawa State will be replicated in the six Geo-Political zones of the country.
Earlier in her remarks, the Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Hajiya Imaan Ibrahim said the Project Zero Hunger will help to streamline and enhance the accessibility, distribution and availability of mainly food and non-food items to satisfy the immediate nutritional needs of all persons of concern using the food care packs.
According to her, “the Project will adopt and promote an integrated and whole of society approach which gives everyone the opportunity to complement the Federal Government effort, especially in the feeding of persons of concern, thus addressing their immediate challenges of hunger and malnutrition.”
The Commissioner further described Project Zero Hunger as a platform where stakeholders could collaborate and support the Commission in this regard.
DEPOWA President, Barr. Vickie Irabor, identified insecurity in the country as a major cause of rising cases of IDPs in Nigeria, describing the Zero Hunger Project as a flagship programme that strives to empower these vulnerable and indigent victims.
According to her, the project was an opportunity for the NCFRMI and DEPOWA to contribute their quota in ameliorating the challenges faced by vulnerable group.
Addressing insecurity does not involve deploying massive troops, and using sophisticated firearms or war ammunition, among others, alone. It entails, more than anything else, re-strategizing combat plans, and upscaling ongoing military operations, across the country.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is Assistant Editor PRNigeria
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