By Stephen Ubanna
In spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim since December, 2015, that the Islamic Fundamentalist , Boko Haram, had been technically defeated, Mohammed Ibn Chambers, a Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Gutrres, for West Africa and the Sahel region said the terrorist group remain a grave threat to the ”stability and survival of people in the Lake Chad region”.
Chambers who spoke at a two-day Lake Chad , governors forum ” for regional Cooperation on Stabilisation,peace-building and sustainable development”, confirmed that the group remain a major threat to the people of Nigeria, Niger and Chad.
Appealing to Buhari and his counterparts in Niger and Chad not to relent in their military Cooperation to rout the insurgents, he advised that the ”fight against the insurgents must be pursued to its logical conclusion.
Given his understanding of terrorist mode of operations in countries affected by terrorists attacks in Asia and the Middle Eaast, he agreed to claims by Lucky Irabor, a Nigerian Major General and Commander of the Multinational Task FoskForce that the BokoHaram insurgents have been weakened militarily. The Multinational Joint Task Force comprise of troops donated by the member countries of the lake Chad region including Cameroun and Republic of Chad.
He is optimistic that with the support of the international Community to the regional Army to ensure that the terrorist group activities in the Lake Chad region are defeated, their activities in the region would soon be a thing of the past.
On the part of Nigeria, former president Goodluck Jonathan and his successor Buhari had several efforts committing huge financial resources to rout the terrorist group in the north east since 1999 and now. Their efforts may not have translated to complete defeat of the Boko Haram fighters because of the repeated penetration of the flash point states to launch attacks and leaving scores of people killed.
The attacks was said too bad in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states , forcing Buhari to give a matching order to the Service Chiefs to relocate their Headquarters to Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state to keep abreast of what is happening in the Boko Haram infested states.
Many believe that without the creation of a new battalion in Borno state and the deployment of more police personnel to the states, the insurgents could have taken a foothold in the region. This is evident going by their near total control of almost half of Borno until Buhari had to rejig the security network that brought in Tukur Buratai and an indigene of Buratai Community in Borno state as the Chief of Army Staff and other Service Chiefs in 2015.
The appointment of Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff, may have given a bite to the war against the insurgents as most of the local government Areas occupied by the insurgents in the north east geo-political zone were recaptured and normalcy restored.. This may have forced the insurgents to resort to guerilla ware fare or what security experts call” operation strike and go”.
The frequent bomb blasts in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states since late 2015, speaks volume about the level of insecurity in the country now. It would be recalled that on May2, 2018, the group suicide bombers detonated bombs in an open market and a Mosque in Mubi town in Adama state, leaving scores of innocent people and Worshippers killed as well as several others wounded .
The bombings in Mubi was said to have occurred just days after Buhari met with President Donald Trump met with his Nigeria counterpart, Buhari, in Washington DC, United States . The promise extracted from the United States President during their meeting about the sale of a dozenA-29 Super Tucano war planes may have given hope of defeating the insurgents.
The US president was said to have reassured him, Buhari, during a bilateral talks while on an official visits to the country recently that the $600 million arms deal has been sealed and could not be reversed. The $600 million warplanes sale, was said to have been held up by Obama, on the allegations of Human Rights violation and extra-judicial killing in the north east by the Army.
The US President, according to security sources, may have been encouraged to take a second look on the reasons why his predecessor took the hard decision not to sale the war planes to Nigeria because of the incessant killing of Christians and other innocent citizens by armed bandits in parts of the country.
Only recently, armed bandits suspected to be BokoHaram fighters who had infiltrated the ranks of the herdsmen in parts of the country, attacked a Catholic Church at Ukpor village in Gwer East local government Area of Benue state killing tens of Worshippers and two Reverend Fathers, which may have irked the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, NAN, to plan a nation-wide protest, which could not hold because pressure from official quarters.
The Benue s killings by armed herdsmen , appear o have become regular occurrence which had been extended to Niger, Taraba, Nasarawa and Zamfara states. The most recent of the attacks was in Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari local government Area of Kaduna state leaving on its throes over 50 people dead. the armed bandits were said to have come from Dansadu village, in Zamfara state.
Given the spate of attacks in parts of the country by Boko Haram insurgents and armed bandits, there are fears in both official and unofficial circles that the level of insecurity may degenerate which may hamper the 2019 general election in some states of the federation if urgent security measure are not quickly put in place to arrest the trend.
Security sources confirmed that Buhari has ordered Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff and Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of police to deploy more of their officers and men to the troubled states to tighten up security.
Moreso, he has directed the Mike Okiro led Police Service Commission , PSC, to recruit 6000 police men , ahead of the 2019 general elections. The police officers source confirmed are to be recruited from the 779 Local government Areas across the country.