Nigerian Military misunderstood at the peak of Insurgency, now in 36 States Providing Security- Gen Irabor
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor has said that military operations at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, was politicised.
Speaking as a keynote speaker at the maiden 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE Roundtable with the theme: “Going for broke: Fighting Insecurity in Nigeria,” in Abuja, Irabor added that the military is now in 36 states of the federation providing security.
“At some point, the military approach to tackling insecurity was politicised. It became profound that even the good intentions of the military were misunderstood,” Irabor noted.
He said key among the measures to tackle insurgency was the introduction of a state of emergency in Boko Haram strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
He said there was initial confusion within the Nigerian polity because of the amount of violence unleashed by the insurgents, necessitating drastic measures by the military.
He said the military also introduced various operations with codenames which greatly assisted in pushing the insurgents back into the Lake Chad areas.
Irabor also declared that there is no local government area in Nigeria under the control of Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.
He recalled that a state of emergency was imposed on a number of local governments in the North East in the past, especially in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
According to him, the measure taken at that time was necessary as the country had protocol outlined to manage such a crisis.
“Looking at these issues, the military had to emplace measures by way of crafting operations to suit peculiarities of every geopolitical zone.
“We have Operation Lafiya Dole now Hadin Kai in the North East, Hadarin Daji in the North West and different operations in the North Central.
“There has been the recovery of space. At the peak of insurgency, 14 local government areas especially in Borno were under the control of Boko Haram but currently, there is non under their control.
“Equally in Yobe, almost four local governments were under the control of Boko Haram as well as in Adamawa but currently, Boko Haram is not in control of any local government.
“We have recovered arms and ammunitions as well as arrests and surrender of Boko Haram terrorists,” he said.
Irabor said the military had absorbed a good number of Civilian Joint Task Force after rigorous screening and deployed them to relevant areas.
He said that 80 per cent of the armed forces personnel were currently deployed across the 36 states of the federation providing security and performing police duties.
According to him, that is the more reason he joined those advocating community policing.
“Yes there is a community policing framework currently, but it has to be escalated.
“The NPF is already working on this to see how they could boost community policing mechanisms beyond what it is right now.
“Nigerians need to understand the basis of our involvement and the basis are internal confrontations.
“Of course, our constitution mandates the armed forces to play a supporting role to the civil authority, in this case the Police, in circumstances that we have found ourselves.
“The manifestation of these insecurities have assumed such a proportion that the military will be at the forefront of addressing them,” he said.
The CDS also said the security challenges in the country had been politicised.
According to him, the politicisation of military approach became so profound that the good intentions of the military were skewed.
Irabor blamed the insecurity in the country on the Libyan crisis, which according to him, led to free flow of arms through Nigeria’s porous borders.
He called for allocation of more resources to defence and security sector to meet the needs of the military.
The CDS said Nigeria look inward for its military hardware to gradually replace imported ones.
The roundtable organized by 21st Century Media Services, was chaired chaired by former Borno State Governor Senator Kashim Shettima, while the Royal Father of the Day, was the Sarkin Zazzau Suleja, Alhaji Muhammadu Auwal Ibrahim.
The former military spokesperson, Maj Gen Chris Olukolade and Dr. Mairo Mandara of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation discussed the Chief of Defence Staff’s paper.
Prof Jideofor Adibe of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Other speakers at two sessions of the event included Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Prof Jibrin Ibrahim of Center for Democracy and Development [CDD], Mr. Dan Agbese of MayFive Media, Prof Mohammed Kuna of INEC and Hajia Zainab Okino of Blueprint Newspapers
Malam Mahmud Jega is the Editor in Chief the online newspaper’s.
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