Participants of Strategic Counterterrorism/Counterinsurgency (CTCOIN) Seminar in Abuja on Tuesday (11/10/22)
By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says the comprehensive approach being employed in counterterrorism operations since 2015, has continued to significantly degrade the threat of terrorism.
Irabor said this at the opening of the Second Strategic Counterterrorism/Counterinsurgency (CTCOIN) Seminar organised by the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The seminar with the theme, “Conducting counterterrorism/counterinsurgency: Utilising a Whole of Society Approach” was organised in collaboration with Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Irabor, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Yekini Adeyemi, said the multi-faceted security challenges confronting Nigeria could only be addressed through same approach that would involve all segments of the society.
According to him, it is only through such an integrated approach that the circle of violence in the country can jointly be halted and create the enabling environment critical for sustainable peace and national development.
The defence chief said that the security challenges assumed a new dimension with the Boko Haram insurgency taking a frightening dimension following the emergence of ISWAP, an off shoot of ISIS that had become a major driving force behind the insurgency.
He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) responded to the Boko Haram threat by launching a CTCOIN operation which was largely kinetic in nature, saying the efforts did not yield the desired result at the initial stage due to the inability of troops to differentiate between counter insurgency operation and the usual conventional warfare.
He said the armed forces had to adapt, although slowly to the asymmetric nature of the conflict for us to get to where we are today.
“The CTCOIN strategy was later changed to a multi pronged approach using other elements of national power.
“This multi-pronged approach with the buy-in of the locals and consequent establishment of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) yielded some positive results as the Boko Haram and its splinter group ISWAP have been routed from many of their previous enclaves.
“As at September, over 80,000 erstwhile Boko Haram and ISWAP members and their families have so far surrendered to troops across the North East Theater.
“On the other hand, thousands of IDPs have returned to their ancestral homes across in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States following successful clearance operations carried out by troops as well as intensification of non-kinetic approaches by the AFN, supported by other security agencies and the locals.
“Despite the successes recorded so far, the reality on the ground is that the insurgency is yet to be fully crushed.
“The insurgent groups are still clinging to some elements of hope, which must be crushed. Their hopes are fuelled by the indoctrination and support they continued to receive locally and internationally,” he said.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), rtd. Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, said that proffering a whole of society solutions towards enhancing national responses to the emergent security threats must be pursued to enhance national development.
Monguno was represented by the Coordinator, Counter-Terrorism Centre, rtd. Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa.
He said the threat on the environment globally and locally was dynamic and demanded constant reviews and espousal of proactive strategies to combat envisaged challenges.
He added that trends in the global environment indicated that various factors created concerns such as rapid population growth which puts tremendous pressure on states and could trigger humanitarian crises, if not appropriately addressed.
According to him, the Information Technology age has shrunk time and space thus rendering physical barriers between countries ineffective and some security measures obsolete.
“All these global security challenges have the potential to undermine national security and by implication national development.
“The threat outlook therefore, demands a synergy of effort involving stakeholders across government and citizens in a whole of government and whole of society approaches to ensure national security.
“The dynamics of terrorism in Nigeria has evolved to a complex nature and hence CTCOIN becomes complicated, thus, requiring collective efforts of states and a multi agency approach involving all stakeholders using kinetic and non-kinetic means.
“Our experiences as a nation combating insurgency and counter terrorism, Nigeria has come to realise that kinetic means alone is not sufficient to defeating the threat,” he said.
The NSA said that Nigeria had continued to review its laws, strategies and coordination frameworks to surmount the challenges of terrorism in the nearest future.
He said the security situation in the North East and other parts of the country was gradually improving, adding the recently conducted Independence Day parade in Borno after a long time indicated an improved situation.
On his part, Maj.-Gen. Yekini said there was need for all Nigerians to take ownership of the ongoing fight against insecurity by contributing to the ongoing tasks for provision of intelligence.
Yekini said the criminals who carry out attacks on communities come from places where people know them and could provide information about them.
The Director-General, NARC, rtd Maj.-Gen. Garbage Wahab, said the seminar was designed to enable participants to learn how to ensure security of Nigerians through Nigerians.
Wahab said it was not only the responsibility of the military or other strategists to perform, adding that every Nigerian had a role to play.
He said that a lot of peace had been achieved in the North East and other parts of the country, adding that more needed to be done to find solution.
“We must continue to perform and find solutions to whatever the problems are and we can only do that by getting everybody, the military, all security agencies, ministries, departments, agencies, and everybody to be involved in the struggle,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Benson Iziama/Sadiya Hamza