…Sets agenda for new Service Chiefs
By Evelyn Usman
Reactions have begun to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to finally sack the Service Chiefs after much clamour from Nigerians, over the state of insecurity in the country.
One of such reactions is coming from the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC which described the sack of the Service Chiefs as an action long overdue, lamenting that security in the country had deteriorated to a level where kidnappers had taken over the entire country.
Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, noted that a situation where kidnappers abducted
hundreds of school children from their school premises and made away with busloads of travellers, on one hand, while cross-border bandits killed in dozens, on the other hand, spelt doom in food security in Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged the new Service Chiefs to address the worrisome dimension security had assumed in the country since their credentials showed they were experienced in tactical and strategy, which he noted was the immediate fresh breath required at the moment.
He further advised the new Service Chiefs to be professional and not politicians in uniform.
He said “ The situation where on every issue the Army issues statements to condemn human rights groups and media for calling on the security agencies to respect human rights should not continue under this dispensation. They have reviewed the current strategy on terrorism and counter-insurgency, the de-radicalization without community victims healing is not productive.
“Secondly, they need to provide proper facilities and equipment to enable soldiers to effectively deal with the insurgents. Besides, Nigeria needs to take care of the welfare of her troops. Not only should they be paid all their entitlements while out there defending their fatherland, they should also be well equipped to be able to repel the forces of terror.
“Issues that should lead to soldiers protesting or scampering away from the battlefield should be avoided. If soldiers have overstayed their appointed time, they should be replaced with fresh blood to avoid fatigue setting in. The new regime should as a matter of urgency investigate the resignation of over 127 soldiers in recent weeks as well as non-payment of pension to veterans. By so doing, a standard template for transparency and accountability will be institutionalized”
The group further called for a stop to a rivalry between the different security organizations. “This dispensation must strike the rhythm for effective coordination, collaboration and synergy as a diamond formation to victory. But, above all, to win the war against Boko Haram, the government has to win the war of the mind.
Most of the people conscripted by the terrorists are brainwashed to believe they are fighting for God and would go straight to heaven if they die in the process. This is the most difficult aspect of the war to fight. Until the government and religious leaders are able to counter it effectively, only very little progress can be made in the war against terror.
“The new regime must therefore work very closely with stakeholders on the non-kinetic aspects. CISLAC has recently launched a Technical Working Group on Protection of civilians and Civilian Harm Mitigation. It is a robust platform that can support new and ongoing efforts of the armed forces with strategic communications to the communities.
“While militancy, a major security threat in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, has receded remarkably, herdsmen killings have grown in scope and intensity. The first approach from the new chiefs will be to dwell more on intelligence-led response. This will save money, time and casualties. A whole lot must go into building confidence and resilience from communities and partnership building.
“There is a huge disconnect between the people and its armed forces and this clearly suggests that information is not adequate and has a huge potential of drifting citizens into a deeper resentment with the security institutions”, Rafsanjani said.