The Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi, has raised the alarm that Nigeria was in a critical situation following resurgence and incessant attacks by terrorists, bandits and other criminal groups across the nation.
He has therefore called for the support and collaboration of the public as well as critical stakeholders in the national task of securing the country.
The minister spoke at the opening is a one day security summit organized by Defence Headquarters(DHQ), to tackle the menace of terrorism and insurgency ravaging some part of the country
The summit which has as theme “promoting kinetic operations as a major plank for counter terrorism and counter insurgency in Nigeria”, was put together by the DHQ, to find the way forward in ending the boko Haram scourge.
The summit which took place at the National Defence College(NDC), was attended by former Chiefs of Defence Staff(CDS), former Chiefs Of Army Staffs(COAS), former Chiefs of Naval Staffs(CNS), and former Chiefs of the Air Staff(CAS), former Inspectors General of Police(IGP), including serving service chiefs, the National Security Advisers, ministers,security experts, traditional rulers among other top dignitaries.
Declaring the summit open, Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi, while reinstating the imperative of kinetic measures to address the current security challenges in the country, said the country was in a critical situation with the resurgence of terrorists attacks, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes across the nation on a daily basis.
Magashi, who said the security challenges bedeviling the country requires the support and collaboration of the civilian populace and critical stakeholders in the national task of securing the country, said government would continue to work hard to restore stability in the country by exploring all possible approaches.
According to him, “we are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task. This is important to minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.”
He said “this Summit is coming at a sobering time in the life of our dear nation. A time, when merchants of violence are threatening to tear the very foundations of our nation; a time when diverse manifestations of security threats dot the landscape and impact individuals, communities and almost all sub-national entities in disconcerting ways; a time when fear and uncertainty pervades the land; and a time when global indicators of national insecurity give room for serious concern.”
“Physical insecurity in Nigeria unexpectedly, has both forward and backward linkages to different shades and forms of national security. Indeed, it is linked to political instability, economic under-development and social inequalities. Others are food insecurity and cumulative environmental degradation. These indicate the multi-dimensional nature of national insecurity.
“In view of these realities, the Federal Government of Nigeria has over the years applied a multi-lateral approach with our contiguous neighbours and multi-dimensional efforts domestically. In Southern Nigeria, the security approach include, but not limited to: the convening of various stakeholder dialogues in the Niger Delta; mounting of Single-Service, Joint and Special Task Forces; establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta; declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for repentant Niger Delta militants; proscription of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); and the establishment of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre Zone E in the Gulf of Guinea.”
In his address, the Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), General Lucky Iraboh, while noting that the military as a foremost national institution has patriotically Stood by the nation in its most trying times, said “This time will not be an exception and we shall prevail.
He said the Summit was designed to quicken, support and consolidate the kinetic effort of the military and called on the participants to speak freely and candidly in the national security interest.
In his lecture titled “Kinetic operations as a major plank for CT/COIN in Nigeria:issues, challenges and prospects”, the guest speaker Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki, said the current challenges could only be addressed through an all-government and all-society approach.
He said the time has come for the military to engage in full kinetic approach in tackling insurgency and banditry, adding that public engagement and enlightenment was needed for the kinetic operations to be successful.
Omaki, who is the Director General, Savannah Centre for Diplomacy,said that the country has the capacity to end the multiple challenges of insecurity, saying it must start with the comment of all stakeholders adding that there was the need to assess kinetic operation as a major plank for redressing the dislocation of the nation’s security.
According to him, kinetic operations are often associated with collateral damage especially on the side of the civilian population owing to the fact that war against terrorism was is not a conventional warfare.
“In the case of Nigeria, experience shows that the military, with its air power and specialized weaponry, is best equipped to handle counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency roles to secure the country.
“The tactics used by terrorists and insurgents, which involve extreme brutality against unarmed civilians and hit-and-run attacks on soft targets, have made it imperative and indeed urgent for the Nigerian military to adopt kinetic action in their counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts.
“One of the lessons from the Philippines and Indonesia is that kinetic action can be successfully employed to neutralize terrorists and insurgents.
“It should, however, be part of a strategy that is intelligence driven.”