By SUMAILA OGBAJE
ABUJA- Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism, Insurgency and Terrorism (BRAVEIT), a Non-governmental Organisation, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the successes of the military in the fight against insurgency.
The Director of Operations, BRAVEIT, Mr Lawrence Audu, gave the commendation while briefing newsmen on “Counter Terrorism and Maritime Safety Under Buhari: Encomium for the Nigerian Navy” on Tuesday in Abuja.
Audu said that Nigeria had made landmark achievements in various strata of the polity particularly in the area of security in spite of some daunting challenges, which he said he described as deliberately inflicted.
He said that almost 19 local government areas in the North East were under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists prior to 2015 when President Buhari came to power.
He said that the once dreaded terrorist group had been reduced to mere ragtag groups who only preyed on selected soft targets in the region.
According to him, it took the foresight of President Buhari to appoint one of Nigeria’s war tested and most decorated Generals in person of Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai as the then Chief of Army Staff to lead an onslaught against the criminals.
“Within five years the result is there for every unbiased eye to see.
“A more professional and organised army expanded units and commands in addition to morale boosting welfare for troops not to talk massive infrastructural development in all formations across the country.
“Buratai, we are proud to say, left an indelible footprint on the sands of time.
“In the Northeast Theatre of Operations, there has been a sustained push by our gallant troops, it has been one success story or another.
“Following the introduction of home-made solutions to tackling insurgency in addition to the acquisition of platforms and equipment to prosecute the war as well as training exercises for troops who are now fully acquainted with this nature of asymmetric warfare.
“Today, over 83,000 terrorists have surrendered to troops in various locations following sustained push by the military to root out remnants who still hibernate in some locations of the northeast,” he said.
Audu said the military had also improved the security situation in the North West, where bandits held sway for some times, displacing villages, killing innocent civilians and kidnapping for ransom.
He said the achievements were made possible by the existing synergy among security agencies with the massive support being given by President Buhari.
The group also commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, for his dynamic and pragmatic leadership that had changed the landscape of operations for the better.
According to him, a recent visit to Baga road fish market in Maiduguri witnessed a heightened activity as business has resumed fully with traders from all across the country converging for the purpose of trading.
”This has been made-possible by the presence of the of the Navy’s elite Special Operations Forces (SOFs) and the Nigerian Navy’s elite Special Boat Service – which is unmatched among SOFS in Africa, at the Lake Chad basin who have completely rooted out terrorists operating in the region.
“Baga in Borno is now safe now and people are fishing. This is the Same with the issue of pirates along Nigeria’s coastal waters where the Nigerian Navy has continued to frustrate the efforts of economic saboteurs.
“We now see pirates both local and international being arraigned in courts, ” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian Navy whose primary responsibility is to protect the nation’s maritime environment of about 84,000 square nautical miles, including the entire Gulf of Guinea (GoG), about 574,800 square nautical miles spanning 2,874nm from Senegal to Angola, has no doubt become a formidable force among navies in Africa and across the world.
“The Nigerian Navy has evolved over time, making it better placed to handle maritime crisis management, while ensuring the Nigerian Navy’s successes was complemented by the deployment of state- of-the-art technology such as the Navy’s Falcon Eye surveillance system, which was inaugurated in July 2021.
“This has made it possible for the Nigerian Navy to be prepared to effectively combat all forms of maritime crime within its area of jurisdiction,” he added.
Audu said that the Falcon Eye – Surveillance system had prevented the theft of over three billion barrels of Nigeria’s crude oil in the last four years.
He said that bringing an end to maritime-related crimes had also helped to improve the lives and livelihoods of those communities most affected by these illegal activities.
The Chairman of the group, Prof. Khalifa Dikwa, urged the government to be courageous in exposing and punishing the supporters and sponsors of terrorism with a view to finally defeating insurgency.
Dikwa said that lack of patriotism on the part of some powerful individuals in the country in connivance with some foreigners were responsible for the high level of insecurity in the country.
On his part, Mr Abba Aji, former Commander, Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Borno, said that terrorism was planted in Borno to destabilise the state because of the enormous mineral resources that the state was blessed with.
Aji accused some foreign nations for being behind the activities of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the North East based on his experience in the battle field.
According to him, Nigeria has won the war because Borno is now has peace and economic activities have resumed in many places including Lake Chad.
He expressed concern that more than 40,000 children were orphaned as a result of insurgency in Borno alone, adding that addressing the challenge was paramount because it was another time bomb if not checked. (NAN)