The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has stated that the war against Boko Haram could not be won by military might due to series of indoctrination that have been carried out in the north for more than two decades. Buratai said that only 25 per cent of the war falls within the ambit of the military.
The rest, according to him, is for the civil populace to handle. He made these declarations yesterday in Lagos during the 2020 Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Security Meets Business Dialogue. Buratai stated that: “We are fighting the mind. So, can the military fight the mind of the people? That is not the job of the military.”
Psychological operation is government- driven. Facility to reach the minds of the people is within the precinct of the governments. Does military have control over religious leaders that preach hate? There is lot of mundane issues that culminated to this problem. And unfortunately, we do not look at these little things that really matter. You see religious leaders addressing congregation violently on social media to instigate violence against other people.” He urged Nigerians to own the military and other security agencies and support them with information to enable them win the fight against Boko Haram.
He said: “We all know how the armed forces have been deprived of what it is supposed to have in terms of equipment. There was civil war in this country between 1967 and 1970. Did all our allies support Nigeria as a country? Those Nigeria relied upon for the supply of equipment disappointed her. We are experiencing the same thing with Boko Haram. Some of the arms the government has paid for since 2017 and 2018 have not been supplied. As I speak, no pin has arrived Nigeria. Will Boko Haram sleep and wait till our arm arrives? These are the issues.”
He said that during the civil war, the ingenuity of the Biafrans produced the “Ogbunigwe” but Nigeria paid no attention in developing it. He therefore, called for a detailed research and development to enable Nigeria to produce some of these equipment domestically. “Honestly, this is the crux of the mater. As Nigerians we must develop our own solutions. In doing this we need help and assistance,” he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, who was represented by Air Vice Marshall Ado Inuwa, regretted that Nigeria’s security challenges which would have been treated when it was a small ailment has now become cancerous. Olanisakin noted that “Nigeria is at war whether we like it or not,” and called for all hands to be on deck rather than the current attitude where Nigerians viewed the country’s security challenges as personal problem of the security agencies. “The Boko Haram issue has lingered for too long. We cannot see a group that is a rag-tag militia holding up a nation for almost 10 years now if it is not having adequate supplies and logistics. It is not possible. Something is really wrong somewhere,” he said.